Baselworld is proposing to lower prices for exhibitors and visitors in an attempt to reinvigorate the annual watch and jewelry show.

“Expenses crossed the pain threshold for many people in past years,” Baselworld CEO Michel Loris-Melikoff said in a statement last week. “With regard to stand rentals, we have already modified the fees in past years, and we’ll continue to modify them selectively in 2019 to reduce expenses for our exhibitors. We’ll likewise rethink the admission prices and adjust them downward, if possible.”

The value of attending Baselworld has come under the spotlight since Swatch Group last month pulled its 18 brands — including Tissot, Omega and Harry Winston — out of the 2019 edition, arguing that the show was no longer relevant. The event’s organizers will meet with all participants to find a solution to the high cost of attending, Loris-Melikoff said.

“Our negotiations with hoteliers and restaurateurs make it clear that this will succeed,” the executive noted.

Baselworld’s parent company, MCH Group, has been through a period of transition. Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard joined last week as interim CEO after René Kamm resigned in the wake of Swatch’s withdrawal. Stephan Peyer, a member of MCH’s executive board in charge of corporate development and services, also left last week for personal reasons, the company said, while Sylvie Ritter quit as managing director of Baselworld in May, with Loris-Melikoff taking over.

Lower earnings from Baselworld resulted in a 17% drop in MCH’s profit for the first half of the year, the group reported last week.

The show will also give jewelry exhibitors a more central position in Hall 1.2 alongside a new “show plaza” with a 240-degree catwalk to attract visitors to that location. It is also developing a new communications strategy, enabling brands to showcase their products year-round.

Image: Visitors walk the show at Baselworld. Credit: Baselworld

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