New Delhi, India
Value Added Tax
➤ India does not have a traditional VAT, but a variety of related fees may be charged. Rates range between 4 and 12.36 percent.
➤ Refunds on certain taxes are possible, but the process is lengthy.
➤ An ATA Carnet is strongly advised for items that will be in India temporarily.
➤ Exhibit halls use 230 volts.
➤ Plugs have round pins, and adapters and transformers are often necessary.
➤ Most show organizers remove trash placed in the aisles before, during, and after the show. Exhibit houses typically dispose of build-and-burn stands.
➤ Booth-cleaning services can usually be ordered from show management.
➤ SIM cards can only be purchased by residents. Have a local partner obtain and activate one on your behalf.
➤ International calling cards are available for purchase at the airport.
➤ Disposable cellphones are not permitted.
➤ Airfreight takes a few days, and ocean freight can take upward of 12 weeks.
➤ Clearing customs may take a week if documents are in order. Shipments must include certificates of origin, participation letters for shows, and accurate value declarations; otherwise, confiscation often occurs.
➤ Using the official freight forwarder is generally recommended, but ensure any shipper has local divisions skilled in the import process.
➤ Some electronics, information-security technology, and maps that incorrectly depict disputed northern boundaries of India are strictly prohibited.
➤ Payments by wire transfer or cash are preferred, though credit cards are sometimes accepted. Use cash for all small purchases.
➤ Dial 100 for the police department, 101 for the fire department, and 102 for medical emergencies.
➤ Dial 1280 or 1363 for tourist-information services.
Greetings and Culture
➤ Handshakes are common, though many men and women will not shake hands with the opposite sex. It is also considered appropriate to use the traditional Hindi greeting; place your palms together in front of your chest and say "Namaste."
➤ Indians tend to have rigid, arm-length boundaries for personal space and shouldn't be casually touched. When conversing, however, discussing personal topics such as families and hobbies is essential to building relationships.
➤ Avoid using the word "no," as it is considered too harsh of a response. When an Indian says, "I will try," it is usually a polite way of saying "no." Pointing your feet directly at a person is offensive and should be avoided.
➤ Do not discuss religion or politics, and do not criticize India.
➤ Large exhibits commonly offer snacks such as sandwiches, nuts, and cookies, as well as hot and cold beverages. Small exhibits usually provide less-extensive refreshments.
➤ Due to the large Muslim population, alcohol service is uncommon, but beer is sometimes offered at larger international shows.
➤ Exhibitors are typically allowed to bring outside food and beverages into a trade show.
➤ Dinner meetings starting at 9 p.m. are common. Follow the lead of Indian guests regarding what is eaten with utensils versus what is eaten with hands.
➤ English is widely spoken, especially in the business community. A Hindi translator may be needed for smaller regional shows; otherwise, translators are often unnecessary at most trade shows.
➤ English-only signs, literature, and business cards are acceptable.
➤ Men usually wear suits or sport coats with neckties. Women should wear conservative dresses or pantsuits and keep their upper arms, chest, back, and legs covered.
➤ Tattoos and piercings should be covered. The exception is pierced noses, which are common among women.
Installation and Dismantle
➤ Pragati Maidan, with more than a million square feet of exhibition space, is centrally located and surrounded by a plethora of visitor amenities.
➤ India Expo Mart is 19 miles from New Delhi and has 169,000 square feet of exhibit space. Exhibitors typically stay in the vicinity rather than commuting.
➤ Local associations include the Indian Exhibition Industry Association (www.ieia.in
) and the Indian Trade Promotion Organization (www.indiatradefair.com
). The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), and the International Federation of Exhibition and Event Services (IFES) can connect exhibitors to vendors and other resources needed for exhibiting in New Delhi.
General Facts and Tips
➤ Most shows are open to the public.
➤ Rights for in-booth music should be paid to the Indian Performing Rights Society (www.iprs.org), though the regulation is rarely enforced.
➤ Quality hotels near venues can fill a year in advance.
➤ New Delhi is overrun with rhesus monkeys. They steal belongings and can be aggressive, prompting many people to take cabs for even short distances rather than walk on sidewalks.
➤ The conditions in Indian exhibit halls are deplorable compared to those in the United States.
➤ For safety and convenience, hire a cab for the entire day via a trusted concierge.
➤ Jostling in crowds is common, making pickpocketing a concern.
➤ Don't offer leather products of any kind as promotional giveaways, as cows are considered sacred animals in Hinduism, one of India's most popular religions.
Installation and Dismantle
➤ Labor rates are never fixed, usually charged by the day, and often a fraction of those charged at U.S. shows. The exceptions are booth hostesses and translators, which can cost more than $100 per day.
➤ Vet potential suppliers by going through organizations that screen vendors for quality.
➤ Don't hire day laborers in New Delhi, including those available through the venue, without help from of a trusted partner.
➤ U.S. exhibit partners should have experience managing projects in India. An on-site supervisor who speaks Hindi and English is also essential.
➤ Order electricity for installation if power tools will be required.
➤ Some exhibit halls at Pragati Maidan are not air-conditioned, and no venue in India provides air conditioning during installation. Expect extreme temperatures and dust.
Edwina D'souza, senior executive of content marketing, Insta Exhibitions Pvt Ltd.; Rajnikant Kedia, managing director, Insta Exhibitions Pvt Ltd.; Ujjwal Mehta, CEO, Prezens Exhibitions and Events; Sunil More, owner, Fair Act; Tim Sullivan, CEO, ExhibitMatch; Ramit Trehan, director of design, Studio One Designs Pvt. Ltd.