Gems show expected to draw record crowds
Manama, October 17, 2012
Record numbers of visitors are expected to turn up at the region's biggest gems and watch expo, Jewellery Arabia, which officially kicked off yesterday.
Security was stepped up in and around the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Sanabis, where the event is being held.
It was inaugurated by HRH Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, who toured the stalls for more than three hours, in the presence of ministers, diplomats and businessmen.
The five-day show features 550 exhibitors from more than 30 countries, with a strong presence from Bahrain's jewellers including Bahrain Jewellery Centre, Asia Jewellers, Al Mahmood Pearls, Al Zain and Devji.
The expo spans over 16,500 sqm of floor space, with jewellers from Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and others showcasing a host of collections, ranging from finished jewellery to luxury timepieces and precious stones of every size, shape and cut.
Organisers said there was a 10 per cent increase in the number of exhibitors compared to last year and expect the number of visitors to soar significantly.
Arabian Exhibition Management (AEM), which is organising the event, said last year's show attracted more than 42,500 visitors - 23 per cent of which were drawn from the region's single largest jewellery market, Saudi Arabia, with support also coming from Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, the UAE and other neighbouring countries.
"We have registered a 10 per cent increase in exhibitors compared to last year, which is an encouraging sign," said company sales and marketing director Fawzi Al Shehabi.
"We are also expecting the number of visitors to increase to about 70,000 this year.”
"This is mainly because the Eid holidays have started in Saudi Arabia, so it is the right time to have this prestigious event as it will certainly attract visitors from neighbouring countries."
Extra security measures have been put in place with riot police, including policewomen, heavily deployed at all main entrances of the village, which is a trouble hotspot.
They also cordoned off open grounds by barricading them, with police helicopters continuously flying over the area and officers present outside the centre to ensure smooth flow of traffic.
In previous years there have been a spate of thefts with a Serbian gang stealing a $1.5 million (BD567,000) Cartier diamond necklace from one of the stands in 2002, while in 2003 a diamond necklace worth BD17,000 was taken from the exhibition.
Diamonds and necklaces worth $645,000 were stolen in 2007 followed by the theft of two diamond necklaces worth a combined total of BD80,000 in 2009.
Leading jewellery export countries and a host of prominent manufacturers from across the globe are participating in the show - including Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Chopard, Corum, Harry Winston, Hublot, Omega, Panerai, Patek Phillipe, Piaget and Vacheron Constantin.
"Jewellery Arabia celebrates 21 years of service to the world's jewellery industry in 2012. Since its launch in 1992, this highly influential exhibition has united thousands of exhibitors and buyers in the Middle East and provided a perfect market entry point for hundreds of new companies," said AEM chief executive officer Stephen Key.
The Custom Affairs Directorate said it is allowing easy entry to participating companies at the airport in a bid to contribute to the success of the exhibition. It cleared all products for the expo and transferred them directly to the exhibition venue.
The show will be open to the public from 4pm to 10pm until Friday and on Saturday it will be open from 10am until 1pm and from 4pm until 10pm. – TradeArabia News Service