Along with much of the industry, the Professional Jeweller team returned to the world of physical trade shows last month when it visited Italy’s Vicenzaoro.

Here Marco Carniello, global exhibition director of jewellery and fashion for Vicenzaoro organiser Italian Exhibition Group, gives his take on how the show went, whether it hit its attendance forecasts and when it will return in 2022.

How did the show go?

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Marco Carniello: Although the show came along with many new challenges, it went extremely well. We wanted to respond to change, so we managed to create a safe space for our exhibitors, guests and speakers who were glad to finally be able to meet in person again.

Vicenzaoro represents a great showroom for a sector in which it is still essential to see, touch and experience the products.

Thanks to the incorporation of T.Gold (the international exhibition for machinery and advanced technologies for jewellery design and production processes which traditionally takes place in January) as well as the second edition of VO Vintage (a space for vintage watches and jewellery), the visitors had the chance to experience the entire industry chain.

Marco Carniello

How were attendance figures?

The results exceeded our expectations! In this edition, we welcomed visitors from 108 countries in total, with 77% coming from Europe (Spain, Germany and France primarily), 7% from the Middle East and top buyers coming from the United States, Russia and North Africa.

The international attendance of buyers and visitors from abroad exceeded 40%, while the show came to a close with more than 80% of the number that attended the 2019 edition.

“Vicenzaoro represents a great showroom for a sector in which it is still essential to see, touch and experience the products”

We believe that the success of the show reflects the enormous desire of the sector to come together and network in person.

The numbers confirm our ability to adapt and to be flexible: we were able to give the community the opportunity to meet and reflect on the state of the sector following the pandemic and amid the challenges it is still facing.

Was it significantly more costly to run Vicenzaoro this year with all of the Covid restrictions?

We wanted to ensure the safety of our visitors in order to give them the opportunity to experience an enjoyable exhibition. Therefore, we developed our #Safebusiness by IEG project, a detailed prevention and safety protocol against Covid.

We are the first Italian company to obtain the international GBAC STAR accreditation for introducing the correct practices, procedures and systems to meet the international standards of cleanness, disinfection and infectious disease prevention for facilities and staff.

Additionally, all visitors were required to be in possession of a Green Pass or a negative test taken within 48 hours, as requested by our government.

Obviously, this has incurred costs, but we consider it as an excellent investment since the safety of our customers and our workplace comes first for IEG.

What lessons have you and the Vicenzaoro team learnt from this event that you will carry forward into the show in early 2022?

Face-to-face events will continue playing a significant role as the most effective way to meet new people and negotiate deals and partnerships. However, it is important to embrace change.

Furthermore, IEG approached its challenges with a more than necessary flexibility.

For example, we have created new virtual formats such as the fully digital event WE ARE Jewellery and the hybrid event VOICE. They both offered new, innovative opportunities within networking and visibility.

When it comes to Vicenzaoro, we will continue to be the right platform for key opinion leaders and industry members to share their thoughts on the worlds of jewellery and watches – regardless of the circumstances.

To keep adapting and listening to our community are probably the most important lessons we learnt during this pandemic.

Are you hopeful that Covid and travel restrictions will be less strict by early 2022?

We all hope that the situation can evolve in a reasonably short time and the indicators, at the moment, support this hope. The first half of 2022 may still have travel restrictions, particularly from Asia, but the second half should look progressively better.

“Vicenzaoro will be the first international show of 2022 for the gold and jewellery industry”

However, caution is required: Vicenzaoro September 2021 went very well, but we know that we will still need some time to completely get out of the pandemic.

What can you reveal about the 2022 Vicenzaoro calendar?

Vicenzaoro will more and more be community-focused, physical and online, and full of experience.

Vicenzaoro will be the first international show of 2022 for the gold and jewellery industry, taking place in Vicenza 21-26 January 2022 together with T.Gold.

It will provide the professional community a unique business hub for all the market players and stakeholders to improve their competitiveness thanks to networking opportunities with the entire supply chain, as well as a deep focus on trends and design, and the most relevant opinion leaders discussing the hot topics of the sector.

This is all surrounded by the beautiful city of Vicenza, full of art and architecture, where international visitors can get a glimpse of the Italian way of life.