Speaking to the Daily FT amidst the bustle of final preparations, National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) Deputy Director General and founder of the Lanka Gemmological Institute K.L.D. Dayasagara said a significant boost to the local gem and jewellery industry was anticipated through the valuable international exposure it received during the congress.
“For our local industry, the exposure we received in the international sphere is extremely useful and we believe that many of our local companies and entrepreneurs have used this opportunity to build relationships and awareness about the quality and diversity of Sri Lankan gems and jewellery and our ethical mining practices.
“In addition to our locally-mined gemstones, we also took significant efforts to showcase the many other aspects of Sri Lanka – from its tourist hotspots to its culture and cuisine,” Dayasagara explained.
He added that significant volumes of sales had been generated over the course of the congress, which also hosted parallel exhibitions showcasing gemstones produced by the island’s SME sector in addition to a special edition of the Facets exhibition.
“The true goal of these exhibitions is not merely to generate sales volumes. What our industry found most valuable was the opportunity to network and forge lasting business relationships. This I believe will result in a significant increase in sales volumes over the medium to long term,” Dayasagara stated.
He further noted that knowledge sharing and transfer over the course of the congress had also provided domestic producers and manufactures with valuable insights into the mindset and requirements of international buyers and wider trends within the global industry.
In that context, Dayasagara predicted that in time to come, Sri Lanka’s gem cutting and jewellery manufacturing industries would also grow in international stature, boosted in no small part by the positive international exposure received during the congress.
“Already the gem and jewellery sector has crossed $ 500 million in exports and with the boost to our global image from this event, we’re confident that we will be able to take that figure over the $ 1 billion mark,” he predicted.
The response of international delegates to the congress and its surrounding events also appeared to be resoundingly positive, with many delegates expressing enthusiasm over the manner in which the congress and its surrounding events were conducted.
“I’ve been to many of these events in Brazil and other locations around the world and I have to say that this is easily one of the best so far,” consultant jewellery historian, author and a speaker at the congress Dr. Jack Ogden beamed.
Notably, it was also announced that the next ICA Global Congress is scheduled to take place in Jaipur, India in 2017.
While the congress itself was officially concluded yesterday, select delegates will be taken on a week-long tour of mining operations across Elahera, Ratnapura and Beruwala, with stopovers in major tourist destinations such as the Sigiriya rock fortress in Dambulla, Kandy, and Nuwara Eliya.
Courtesy: Daily Financial Times 20 May 2015