Departures Magazine is a Travel & Leisure monthly periodical published by American Express for its cardholders. There is also a website, Departures.com, for online viewing as well. In the latest issue, there was an article that reported the success of last November's Millionaire Fair in Russia. It went on to mention how the event seemed to grow each time since it first began 5 years ago with the first fair held in Amsterdam. The attendees come from all over the world.
In the Guardian, Luke Harding wrote about the fair. He noted that at the height of the economy, there were 110 billionaires in Russia, second only to the United States in number. Despite the fact that many have been downgraded below the billionaire status, they apparently, still have plenty of money to spend. Harding quoted Alexander Aivazov, who was in attendance this year, as saying "...we Russians have always got money hidden away somewhere, often in the refrigerator" The fair was also being held in Turkey. There, Istanbul expected to draw 15,000 visitors to the event. In an article from Overseas Property Investor, Rustu Barkay, a local executive, noted "...there are many luxury hotels in Istanbul which are now full, booked by guest who flew in on their private jets for this event. The reverberations and excitement for this event are actually bigger than they were for the Formula One races. Our expectations is that over four days, visitors to this trade fair will spend around $100 million while in the city. Including the volume of business that takes place at the trade fair itself, this figure will be closure to $500 million" The article goes on to indicate that the fair includes luxury goods such as limos, helicopters, one piece from the Faberge collection, homes and yachts. There was also coverage by ABC News on the illustrious affair.
Although Millionaire Fair is in its fifth year, I had no idea it existed. These stories left me wondering whether such events can continue to thrive in the wake of the current and increasing global economic crisis without the ultra rich leading themselves down a path similar to that taken by the European nobles of the past? Will such excess spark a modern day revolution in Russia, the USA or any other country? Let's hope not.