Foreign attendance at the JCK Las Vegas show is hanging in the balance, with key diamond centers sending fewer exhibitors than usual amid continued Covid-19 measures.
The Belgian diamond industry will not run a pavilion, while India’s section will only house exhibitors’ local representatives, spokespeople for the respective national trades told Rapaport News. Some overseas companies — including India-based manufacturers — will send staff from other international offices in locations from which flights to the US are allowed.
“This year will be a bit different than previous years, and some of our valued international partners and attendees will not be able to be with us due to governmental travel restrictions,” said Sarin Bachmann, group vice president for JCK organizer Reed Jewelry Group, in a statement Tuesday [August 10]. “Although there will be fewer international buyers at the show than previous years, we’re excited to welcome many new visitors who are attending JCK for their first time, [and to] welcome back international buyers from countries that are not facing travel bans.”
Bachmann confirmed the exhibition would still take place from August 27 to 30 as scheduled, with sister show Luxury running from August 24 to 30.
The latest virus waves around the world have dashed hopes that trade shows could return to normal following more than a year of disruptions. The US currently bans visitors from China, a host of European countries, and India, as well as from several other nations, while many countries also have quarantine rules for people who have returned from America.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) cited “uncertain conditions for traveling, and the low attendance in previous, pre-pandemic JCK shows” as the reason for reducing its presence at JCK this year. Some traders have shown interest in exhibiting and might spend two weeks in a low-risk country to enable them to set foot in the US, a spokesperson for the AWDC said.
“But the fact entry is troublesome will definitely weigh on the decision,” she added.
Indians can apply for a special exemption to enter the US, but “many exhibitors” received rejections when they tried, a spokesperson for the Asian nation’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) said last week.
The Israel pavilion will not take place, according to a JCK spokesperson, though the Israel Diamond Institute (IDI) said the matter was still undecided. The country recently introduced mandatory quarantine of at least seven days for anyone returning from the US. Some Israeli companies will still be exhibiting at the show, JCK said.
There will still be pavilions representing Hong Kong, Turkey, Thailand, Mexico, Korea, Italy, Germany and — for the first time — the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bachmann said. The International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) will also have a presence.