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Published on : Tuesday, May 17, 2016
If the proposal for such displays from the World Gold Council (WGC) goes through, it will definitely be one of the most dazzling shows and security will be, undoubtedly very strict.
Currently, some high value antique pieces of jewellery are kept in a few of museums in the world, but a dedicated gold tourism model is yet to be tried anywhere ever.
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has been engaged by The WGC to conduct a six-month study on the feasibility of such a tourism model. After the findings of such study, it will be sent to the relevant ministries, either the government or temple trusts will then work on developing the infrastructure.
While the proposal is at a nascent stage, such ‘gold tourism’ holds large earning potential for temples. Under the government’s new Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS), temples have an option to deposit gold and jewellery but many old temples possess antique jewellery that cannot be as easily monetised. One way of doing so would be to charge a viewing fee for these antiquities.
Managing director of World Gold Council (WGC), India, Somasundaram P R said that the objective of ‘gold tourism’ is to keep jewellery on display for public viewing at a fee which can increase the temples’ earnings.
Various estimates suggest India’s temples hold around a fifth of the 22,000-25,000 tonnes of gold holdings in the country. Some of these temples have been accumulating gold since their establishment going back a few hundred years. What’s more, these temples have not disposed of gold ornaments gifted by donors since then.
Rajesh Mehta, managing director of Rajesh Exports commented that it is a fairly good idea however not all the temples of India can afford the challenge of developing the infrastructure and securities that is required.
In its Vision 2020 document released in 2014, the WGC had envisaged setting up a “gold tourism circuit” with participation from one or more jewellers to keep hand-crafted jewellery on display for tourists. Jewellers, too, had welcomed the idea but little progress was made, likely due to the involvement of too many jewellers, lack of regulating guidelines, and differences over selection of jewellery.
Moreover, such displays will also help modern craftspersons to re-design an existing piece for a better price.