Gbenga Oluboye

Gbenga Oluboye

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The fifth Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem and Pearl Show, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), opened today and will run for five days (27 February to 3 March) at the AsiaWorld-Expo. This year's Show gathers a record number of 1,970 exhibitors from 40 countries and regions, including new exhibitors from Belize and Turkey, to showcase an assortment of jewellery raw materials including exquisite diamonds, precious and semi-precious stones as well as pearls to international buyers. The 35th Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, which features finished jewellery products, will take place from 1 to 5 March at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). The two shows will feature a total of more than 4,550 exhibitors from 52 countries and regions, forming the world's largest jewellery marketplace.

"This year's Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem and Pearl Show continues to attract jewellers, trade associations and organisations from around the world. The participation of exhibitors is the highest on record. It is a testament to Hong Kong's standing as a key sourcing platform for the global jewellery industry," said Benjamin Chau, Deputy Executive Director of the HKTDC. "The improving global economic conditions have led to a steady rebound in overall jewellery exports. There is also an increasing demand for product diversity. The Diamond, Gem and Pearl Show and the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, which opens on Thursday (1 March) to showcase finished jewellery products, are set to generate synergy and to help industry players capture more business opportunities."

- A dazzling array of exquisite jewellery raw materials on display

To facilitate buyers to source jewellery raw materials, the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem and Pearl Show has set up thematic zones for different product categories. The Hall of Fine Diamonds showcases quality diamonds in a variety of sizes, grades and colours. Exhibits include an enthralling two-carat natural green diamond presented by US exhibitor Rio Diamond MFG Corp (Booth: 2CON-21); a 28-carat fancy vivid yellow diamond ring from Scarselli Diamonds Inc (Booth: 2CON-25); a top-quality argyle pink diamond from Australia, which is valued at more than HK$7 million, featured by Rachminov Diamonds 1891, Asia Ltd (Booth: 2-Q17); and a radiant shape, natural fancy colour polished diamond from Hong Kong exhibitor Novel Collection Ltd (Booth: 2-Q01).

Another zone, Treasures of Nature, is devoted to precious and semi-precious coloured gems of different origins. Exhibits include a set of Colombian emerald jewellery, valued at more than HK$23.4 million, showcased by Hong Kong exhibitor Hatta New World Company Limited (Booth: 1-B05); a Sri Lankan chrysoberyl cat's eye stone, that weighs over 100 carats and is valued at more than HK$20 million, from Wilds Company Limited (Booth: 1-B11); a spinel snake presented by German exhibitor Paul Wild (Booth: 1-B01); a cushion vivid pink sapphire from US exhibitor Shaun Gems International (Booth: 1-A16); a purplish-red spinel from Swiss exhibitor ALine GmbH (Booth: 1-C16); and neon mint tourmalines from Ukrainian exhibitor Vitalii Golokoz, Pte (Booth: 1-A27).

With Hong Kong becoming a major trading and distribution centre for pearls, the Treasures of Ocean zone is set up to showcase quality pearls from Tahiti, the South Seas, Japan, the Chinese mainland, the Caribbean and other pearl-producing regions. Another highlight zone Rough Stones & Minerals has also returned to the Show to present unpolished and uncut precious stones.

As a major global sourcing platform for jewellery, this year's Show features 22 group pavilions of countries and trade organisations, representing Australia, the Chinese mainland, Germany, Italy, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the United States; and prominent trade organisations such as the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the International Colored Gemstone Association and the Tanzanite Foundation.

- Buying missions to generate more business opportunities

The HKTDC will organise 115 mainland and overseas buying missions comprising over 9,800 buyers from more than 8,000 companies from 75 countries and regions to visit the shows. To let industry practitioners capture the latest trends, the HKTDC will organise a series of seminars and buyer forums, topics include "New Diamond Findings and Developments from the GIA Laboratory", "125 Years since the Invention of Cultured Pearl" and "The Latest Development and Opportunities in the Belt and Road Markets". The HKTDC will also arrange business matching sessions on-site to create more business exchange and opportunities for the visitors.

- Jewellery Show opens on Thursday at HKCEC

The 35th Hong Kong International Jewellery Show will open on Thursday and will run for five days (1 to 5 March) at the HKCEC. It will feature a broad spectrum of finished jewellery products, including exceptional jewellery collections, premier brands, antique jewellery and new designer brands. Several thematic zones will be set up, including the Hall of Fame, which showcases the collections of renowned jewellery brands; the Hall of Extraordinary, which presents the most exquisite, valuable and unique jewellery pieces; the Designer Galleria, which gathers youthful, trendy and high quality collections; the World of Glamour, which demonstrates the expertise and artistry of the Hong Kong fine jewellery sector; the Treasures of Craftsmanship, where jewellery and art converge; and the new zone IT Solutions for Jewellery. The two shows will create synergy and offer buyers an effective, one-stop sourcing experience.

In addition, there will be a variety of networking events during the Show, including a gala dinner sponsored by the Tanzanite Foundation on Thursday night (1 March). Under the theme "Roman Constellation", the dinner will feature a menu curated by Gianni Favro, an award-winning chef of the Virtual Group of Italian Chefs (GVCI). Along with special performances, local and international guests of the evening will have ample opportunities to network. There will also be multiple jewellery parades during the shows to demonstrate exhibitors' superior offerings to global buyers and to maximise exposure.

During the Diamond, Gem and Pearl Show, a complimentary shuttle bus service will run between the AsiaWorld-Expo and various downtown areas (including the HKCEC) to facilitate sourcing at both shows. 

As China celebrates the Chinese New Year for two weeks, a Seychelles-based family prefers a low-key approach to the holiday period, such as having dinner with family.

Julie Fayon told SNA that in the old days, Chinese shop owners in Seychelles would close their shops in the afternoon to celebrate the auspicious occasion.

“We would enjoy traditional games such as Majong and one lap while we wait for the family dinner filled with authentic Chinese cuisine, but nowadays we prefer to join together for dinner at a hotel,” said Fayon of the holiday period that began last Friday.

China this year observes the year of the dog, and Fayon said that this means a lot of protection, prosperity and friendship.

Fayon is the fourth child in the Ah-Moye family who came to Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, in the early 1900s.

Her father -- Pierre Ah-Moye -- who was previously staying in Mauritius, another Indian Ocean country, came to Seychelles alone in 1925. He started his first job as an assistant in a shop in the capital Victoria and after 11 years paid for his wife Anne Ah-Moye to join him in the island nation.

Pierre Ah-Moye came to Seychelles in 1925 and made the island nation his home. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

Ah-Moye opened his first shop of general supplies not long after but this was not enough to sustain his family, which included seven children.

Fayon recalls how she and her siblings would help their parents with the breeding of pigs, cows and chicken located behind the shop. She believes that this made her strong and hard working.

“We worked a lot but in the end, we are not afraid to do anything,” said Fayon.

She describes her father as a man of the people, making sure the shop had all the islanders needed, from needles to cloth, charcoal to food supplies and tobacco. He even went out his way to go to Bird Island to bring bird eggs to his clients when the season opened.

“I remember we would boil the eggs in a huge saucepan. He would put me seated at the shop entrance and I would sell the eggs accompanied with salt and pepper,” recalls Fayon.

Despite being intensively educated on the Chinese culture, the Ah-Moye children who attended the Plaisance and Mont Fleuri schools also learned the Creole culture.

Julie Fayon is the 4th child in the Ah-Moye family. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

Fayon, now 79, started working as a personal secretary at the governor’s house and worked with John Thorp -- the British governor of Seychelles from 1858 to 1861 -- and Bruce GreatBatch from 1869 to 1873.

After she returned from teacher training in the United Kingdom in 1965, Fayon opened a school that gave children with little financial means and good intellectual ability to continue their studies.

“I was asked to open a school for twenty students at the Palm’s theatre at Mont Fleuri. They came from as far as Anse Boileau (a district in the west of Mahe).”

Fayon ended her teaching career in the early 1990s and joined her husband’s photography business -- Photo Eden. She also opened a cosmetic shop in Seychelles’ capital Victoria called Tanny’s.

Fayon owns the 'Tanny's cosmetic shop'  in Victoria. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

Fayon who used to be a well-known tennis player in Seychelles said that the three generations of the Ah-Moye family still loves Seychelles and at the same time are proud of their Chinese origin. Many of the  Ah-Moye family members are today living in various countries across the world but they make sure that where ever they are they keep their Chinese culture alive.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018 00:00

Key trade routes already full, argues Heathrow

Britain’s exporters risk being held back by a lack of access to key trading markets, new data has revealed today.

As Britain prepares to leave the EU, the data shows that key routes from Heathrow to Shanghai, Delhi, Mumbai, Los Angeles, Tokyo Haneda and Dubai are virtually full and unable to accommodate further growth in trade.

Combined, these six routes alone account for nearly 18 per cent of Heathrow’s total cargo volumes.

The data underscores the importance of expanding Heathrow at pace to ensure that Britain can thrive as an outward looking trading nation after Brexit.

Heathrow is already the UK’s largest port by value – bigger than Felixstowe and Southampton combined – and handled over £106 billion worth of goods last year.

Access to global markets through Heathrow is particularly important for high-value goods and small and medium exporters and with 33 per cent of the UK’s non-EU exports already going through Heathrow, it is absolutely critical that Britain has the additional runway capacity at the airport to support further export growth to key markets.

Expanding Heathrow will double the airport’s cargo capacity and support up to 40 new long-haul trading links, helping to ensure that British exporters can reach new customers in fast-growing markets around the world.

Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow executive director, expansion, said: “Expanding Heathrow couldn’t be more important for Britain’s future, as we’re already seeing some of our most critical trading routes reach capacity.

“If we want Britain to thrive as a global trading powerhouse after Brexit, we need to get on with expanding Heathrow now.

“That starts with the government taking advantage of the consensus in parliament and scheduling a vote in parliament before the summer.

“With new capacity at our nation’s global gateway, we will unlock the trading opportunities that will underpin a prosperous future for all of Britain in the decades to come.”

Saudi Arabia has more than 64,000 rooms across the three phases of the hotel development pipeline, according to data from STR.

That room total represents 76 per cent of the more than 84,500 existing hotel rooms in the country.

As shown in STR’s January Pipeline Report, there are 187 hotel projects total in Saudi Arabia between the planning, final planning and construction stages.

The construction phase represents the largest portion of the pipeline with almost 40,000 rooms in 94 projects.

At the market level, Makkah is set to receive the largest amount of new supply with more than 23,000 rooms In Construction and more than 32,000 rooms total in the pipeline.

Jeddah and Riyadh are each approaching 10,000 rooms total in the three phases of the pipeline.

Ahead of his presentation at the Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference, STR’s area director for the Middle East and Africa, Philip Wooller, commented on the market’s supply development.

He said: “Saudi Arabia’s hotel market is going through a period of massive supply expansion.

“In the short term, we’ve already seen this growth affect performance levels, and this trend should continue as more and more properties start to come online.

“But it is important to note that this is part of a major long-term investment for the market to further develop its infrastructure to accommodate millions of annual visitors, which come for religious pilgrimages and as new tourism attractions spring up as part of Vision 2030.”

Wooller notes that Vision 2030 was announced in 2017 as an initiative aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on oil.

Included in the plan were major investments in the country’s tourism sector.

The most notable project in the tourism segment is the Red Sea beach resort project, a new luxury destination along part of Saudi Arabia’s west coast, scheduled for construction to begin in 2019.

According to STR analysts, this attraction has the potential for strong tourism business, with indications that some restrictions of the country’s religious customs will be eased in this area.

Wooller stresses the importance of considering these long-term developments when assessing Saudi Arabia’s hotel performance.

In 2017, the country recorded a 5.2 per cent decline in occupancy and a 4.4 per cent drop in average daily rate, resulting in a 9.3 per cent decline in revenue per available room compared with 2016.

Figures for January 2018 show that occupancy rose 6.4 per cent, while average daily rate dropped 5.2 per cent, resulting in a year-over-year RevPAR increase of 0.9 per cent.

“As oil prices continue to rise, we should see performance levels start to recuperate over time,” Wooller said.

“Although there will likely be a delayed effect, in the long run Saudi Arabia’s investment in tourism infrastructure should help protect the market’s hotel sector during future periods of lower oil prices and help boost performance growth when oil prices are high.”

Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference

The Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference takes place on February 26th at the Marriott Convention Centre, Riyadh Marriott Hotel.

The property is nominated as both Saudi Arabia’s Leading Hotel and Saudi Arabia’s Leading City Hotel at the World Travel Awards.

The winners of the prestigious titles will be revealed at the World Travel Awards Middle East Gala Ceremony.

That event takes place at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah on April 19th alongside the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, sister event to the Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference.

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