Special Report: Bangkok Gem Fair 2014 hopes to attract buyers despite ongoing protests

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The 53rd Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair (BGJF), Asia’s second largest gem trade show, opened February 25 and will run until Saturday March 1st, and is expected to draw at least 30,000 buyers from all over the world. 

The BGJF boasts gross export revenues exceeding 400 billion baht. Visitors from more than 125 countries will be heading to the fair which is the first large trade fair of the year. Over 30 countries participate in the fair, with more than 300 booths displaying their finest products.

The fair plays a vital role in the export of Thai gems and jewelry and is jointly organized by the Thai Gem and Jewelry Trader Association and the Department of International Trade Promotion. The department is promoting the 53rd BGJF among international buyers and visitors, to raise the confidence of international traders as to Bangkok being a viable venue and to allay concerns regarding the prolonged protests in Bangkok.

Earlier reports suggested that the ongoing political turmoil had depressed the influx of potential foreign buyers, with more than 10 per cent cancelling their visits to the BGJF. However organizers reported receiving Fair pre-registrations at a very satisfactory rate, for both visitors and for the Business Matching Service.

The Thai Gem and Jewelry Trader Association president Somchai Phornchindarak reiterated that the fair is not affected by tourist numbers as the sale of gems and other precious stones is dictated by the state of the global economy. Most of the exhibitors are exporters and traders, unlike those who sell to tourists who are affected by the street protests.

Incentives are also being offered to buyers and exhibitors. They include free hotel accommodation for visitors invited to the Fair by registered exhibitors, and a waiver of the 20 percent duty normally applied on items brought in for the fair. The organizers have also prepared alternative insurance for all exhibitors, in cases where overseas insurers do not provide cover.