India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) today announced a major revamp and expansion of the 2018 edition of its flagship IIJS show, slated to run from August 9 to 13. At a presentation to industry media in Mumbai today, GJEPC National Exhibitions Convener Shailesh Sangani said the revamp also included internal show navigation via Google maps that would feature every exhibitor in the show, a mobile-phone App and a chip-loaded visitor-entry badge valid for three years — and six trade shows, as it included the IIJS Signature shows that run at the beginning of each year.
To begin with, the expansion is substantial. This year’s show will be situated on a 62,000 square metre show area, up 19 percent from last year’s 52,000 square metres. The expanded area will accommodate 1,300 exhibitors in 2,500 booths. Last year’s show had 1,100 exhibitors in 1,700 booths.
The India Gem & Jewellery Machinery Exhibition (IGJME), that runs concurrently with the IIJS show, will now be sited at an expanded venue near the international airport in the Lalit and Leela hotels. This show’s expansion has allowed the addition of 60 new booths and a continuous free car service will ensure that the show’s two locations are well connected.
The GJEPC is expecting 40,000 visitors from over 800 cities and 80 countries to come to the show this year.
The expansion has come through a redesign that includes the addition of an entire new exhibition hall — Hall 7. This hall will accommodate many of the exhibitors who have double-storied booths. The addition of the hall has not only allowed the addition of new exhibitors, it has allowed many existing exhibitors to expand their display space considerably. The GJEPC has also pared down its long waiting list of companies wanting to exhibit at the show, giving all of 2015’s applicants as well as many of those who applied in 2016 an entry into the show.
But the expansion is only part of the story. Sangani said that show data indicated that though buyers and managers of companies that bought product at the show were regular attendees, the actual owners of these companies were reluctant to come to IIJS just because of the tremendous volume of visitor traffic, the resulting crowding and the associated visitor processing issues that came with it.
To address this, this year’s show will feature a ‘preview’ day on August 8, when between 2,000 and 3,000 invitees could visit any time between 10 am and 5 pm without having to deal with the show’s normal crowding. Sangani explained that it was important for retail owners to come and see for themselves, the capabilities of the exhibitors and the product on display at the show. “They aren’t going to do any buying,” Sangani said, “but they’ll get a good appreciation of what each of the various exhibitors could do for them and their own businesses.”
The preview day will proceed without ceremony, with the actual official opening and press conference taking place on August 9.
This year’s show will also feature a specific display area for women entrepreneurs. Also, when considering siting options for new exhibitors, the GJEPC will give first pick to exporters and manufacturers as also small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as against those who are simply dealers or traders.
Addressing the visitor-processing issues that have recurred at previous editions of the show, particularly security at various entry and exit points, Sangani said this year’s show would feature double the number of X-ray machines, metal detectors and security gates.
Sangani said that though the RFID-enabled chips in the visitor badges would be valid for three years, the GJEPC would only take payment for this year’s show and leave payment for subsequent shows to visitor choice, with a variety of easy online payment options allowing them to decide whenever they want to.
Sangani also said that the GJEPC team was working closely with Google on developing the internal show navigation system, while the mobile App, which would be good for all the shows the GJEPC organised, was currently undergoing testing.
Road entry and exits to the show’s venue have also been increased, while a new covered walkway will allow visitors to exit directly onto the road leading to the nearest local train station, which is a walking distance away.
GJEPC Chairman Pramod Agarwal, who addressed the industry media before the presentation, said the country’s gem and jewellery industry not only generated some six million jobs and a substantial portion of India’s merchandised exports, it also played a major social role, with CSR initiatives ranging from hospitals and schools to disaster relief. The GJEPC’s own training institutes had enabled many differently abled people to get qualified for jobs in the industry.