Bangkok International Gift Fair, April 19-24, 2011, at Bitec
I went to the Bangkok International Gift Fair (BIG) on Friday April 22. Trade days were April 19-22 (open 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.), and on April 23-24 it was open to the public for retail sales (10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.).
By the way, I previously mentioned the need for foreigners to carry their passport to gain entrance to the Bangkok International Gems & Jewelry Fair; however, it was not required for the Gift Fair. Still, I’ll always bring mine along, just in case.
For the convenience of the buyers, the fair’s organizers had arranged shuttle bus service to some major hotels, to Suvarnabhumi Airport, and to Onnut BTS (elevated railway) station.
The venue consisted of 48 aisles of exhibitor booths. I estimate there were nearly 1,000 booths in all. There were five aisles dedicated to wooden products. Other major products categories were health/spa products, textiles/fabrics, fashion jewelry, stationery, artificial flowers, umbrellas, boxes, decorative items, and premiums. Other categories included mirrors, wickerware, lacquerware, candles/potpourri, shellcraft, and glassware.
A few vendors had a nice selection of cushions, quilts and scarves. Some vendors had dolls, the large majority of the dolls being bears. There were a lot of nice looking carpets on display. One interesting carpet looked like it was made up of pebbles, which certainly wouldn’t be comfortable, but as I neared it I saw that it was actually little round balls of soft material.
I knew I was approaching the herbal products area by the fragrant aroma in the air. As I’ve mentioned in previous reports, the herbal products industry is very big in Thailand. One vendor was displaying glycerin soap, which looked quite delicious, though inedible.
I enjoyed looking at the Saa paper, a Thai specialty made from mulberry bush roots. Other stationery items included post cards and greeting cards featuring scenes of Thailand.
One vendor was selling a toothbrush whose handle formed a triangular base on which the toothbrush stood up. The promotional sign for the toothbrush also claimed some particular dental benefit, but I couldn't understand it, though it was written in English.
An exhibit which I enjoyed was one selling wooden rocking horses made in Chiangmai province of northern Thailand. Most of the rocking horses were kids’ size; I especially liked the old-timey looking ones. There was also a large sized one, more than six feet in length, which could be ridden by adults. Instead of the normal arched rocker on the bottom, this big one used a mechanical device to achieve the rocking effect. The price was 69,000 baht (about US$2,300). There was also a fairly silly-looking Pegasus rocking horse whose wings seemed to be poorly placed, as it looked like the rider would necessarily bump them while riding.
Ceramic figurines included a wide variety of wild animals, farm animals, birds, fish, and domestic pets. Sizes ranged from about one inch to several inches. In addition to animals in their natural poses, there were also novelty sets, such as six-piece orchestras of frogs, pandas, elephants, rabbits and others, each playing a different musical instrument.
A few of the vendors told me that they were disappointed because the attendance was lower than in past years, but they could understood that the political problems, demonstrations and violence last year probably negatively affected the turnout of overseas buyers. I would put the number of foreign visitors to the fair at no more than ten percent of the total. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if the two public days (Saturday and Sunday) produced good retail sales for the exhibitors.
I thought the Bangkok International Gift Fair (BIG) was a very good trade show, and I would certainly recommend it. This gift fair is held twice a year; the next one will be October 18-23, 2011.
I’d also like to mention that the Bangkok International Houseware Fair (BIH) was held in the same venue. As it was nearly the 6:00 p.m. closing time when I finished at the Gift Fair, I had time for only a quick walk through the Houseware Fair. There were about 100 vendors, and the great majority of their products were kitchen items. BIH is always held at the same twice-yearly venue as BIG.