Mood cautious as Baselworld 2010 opens
BASEL, March 18, 2010 – The mood among exhibitors was cautious as Baselworld opened today, but organisers said they were upbeat about the jewellery industry outlook in 2010 as global economic recovery tentatively picks up.
“After several months of economic upturn, there are some positive signs,” said Jacques Duchene, who heads the committee of exhibitors.
“However, we should not be overly confident, because the global economic situation is still highly precarious.”
The corridors were crammed with visitors on the first day of the fair, especially the main watches hall where the ribbon-cutting opening ceremony took place in the morning.
Duchene said that 2009 was a difficult and disappointing year for the watch industry because of the economic downturn.
The Swiss watch industry suffered an export decline of 22.3 percent in 2009, he said.
“We should not forget that many small businesses, key for our sector, encountered severe difficulties and numerous highly qualified professionals lost their jobs,” Duchene said.
Opening Ceremony Baselworld 2010: from l to r Jacques J. Duchêne, Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger, Christoph Brutschin,
Peter Zwick, René Kamm
Jewellery industry professionals are pinning their hopes on jewellers re-stocking after the downturn.
Sylvie Ritter, Managing Director of Baselworld, expressed confidence the trade event would reveal a revitalised industry in 2010.
“The fact is that Baselworld is fully booked,” she said.
“We have the same number of exhibitors that we had in 2009, and this has remained unchanged for several years.”
Ritter added, “”Our aim has never been to increase the number of exhibitors, but to offer the kind of space that will allow existing exhibitors to present their brands and products in the best way.”
1,915 watch and jewellery exhibitors from 45 countries are out in force at Baselworld to showcase their latest products and collections.
With 160,000 square metres of floor space, Baselworld 2010 is the largest trade event in Switzerland.
Watches account for more than double the floor space of jewellery at Basel. Exhibitors are predominantly from Europe, followed by Asia and North America.
According to Baselworld, 456 Swiss brands are represented. Exhibitors in Basel represent over 90 percent of total exports by the country’s third most important sector.
During the show, about 100,000 buyers and almost 3,000 media representatives from 100 countries are expected to visit Basel.