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Baselworld 2019 opens with optimism despite the challenges

Baselworld 2019 opened in Switzerland with its grand official “Ribbon Cutting” ceremony held amidst what the organisers called “a great deal of optimism” as major challenges faced by the watch and jewellery industry as well as the Trade Fair format become a driving force for change.

Present on the occasion were Michel Loris-Melikoff, Managing Director of Baselworld and Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, CEO ad interim of the MCH Group, Federal President Ueli Maurer, Eva Herzog, Member of the Basel City Government and members of the cantonal governments. The ribbon cutting was held to the Alphorn tones of Swiss musician Eliana Burki. The musician is renowned for her unconventional use of the alphorn in funk, pop and jazz songs, symbolising Swiss traditions in a contemporary form.

Speaking on the occasion, Loris-Melikoff said, “Our industry is undergoing a radical upheaval due to digitalisation. This is a fact that presents us with completely new challenges.” These are affecting producers, retailers, the media and trade fair operators alike, he stated.

“We can only tackle and master them together,” the show MD added, explaining that initial changes already implemented at Baselworld 2019 include modern communication strategies, strengthening the jewellery sector, expanding the gastronomic offerings at the show and coordinating the dates of Baselworld and SIHH from next year. He stressed that “this was only the beginning of the comprehensive transformation that the show will undergo from 2020 onwards”.

Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard emphasised that Baselworld was an eminently important component of the MCH Group and that everything possible would be undertaken to prepare the show for the challenges of the future. “This is primarily about combining digital communication with real experiences and encounters…. (into) a future-oriented experience event. We listened carefully to the exhibitors and worked with them to develop a vision and concept for Baselworld 2020 and beyond,” he stated.

In her speech, Eva Herzog, Councillor and Chairwoman of the Finance Department of Basel-City, emphasized the importance of getting to grips with the challenges of the digital age and reconciling them with personal exchange.

Federal President Ueli Maurer concluded the event with a passionate speech on the fundamental value of trade fairs for society. “Basel has been such a marketplace for centuries that it stands for growth and further development,” he said.

The theme of challenges and changes was also underlined at the official press conference held a day earlier. Loris-Melikoff had highlighted the Show Plaza as a new event location and meeting place where daily fashion shows will put jewellery in the spotlight. He also introduced partnerships with hotels as well as restaurants as well as the new catering concept within the halls as further milestones and said that the press centre offered significantly improved working conditions.

At Baselworld 2019, the organisers also introduced an App with augmented reality features, the chatbot messenger service Baselworld Live News and relaunched the show website. Loris-Melikoff also said that the vision for Baselworld 2020 would be unveiled on the closing day of the show.

During the press event, Eric Bertrand, President of the Exhibitors' Committee also handed over the presidency to Marco Aventi.

Courtesy - GJEPC

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