Expected to attract more than four million global visitors over six months and generate $1.2 billion in spending, the Expo is slated to “leave a legacy like that of Expo 88,” says Australis founder Steven Haggart.
Initially tipped to generate 200 jobs and roles for 15,000 volunteers, after six months the expo will leave behind an eco-tourism botanic attraction capable of generating $150 million in revenue from an average of 1.2 million visitors a year over a decade.
“In terms of the economic impact, this event is about six times bigger than the (2018) Commonwealth Games,” Mr Haggart said.
The International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) has granted Australia a licence for the first time after several failed attempts from governments. It had planned to hold an event on the Gold Coast in 2018 but negotiations with the Gold Coast City Council fell through leaving the proponent hunting for a new 50ha staging ground and venue.
Seven cities around Australia are in talks to host the event, including several in southeast Queensland. Mr Haggart said ideal growing conditions along the coast in the southeast made it the preferred site. “It is set to go ahead, the only question is where?” he said.
AIPH secretary-general Tim Briercliffe said the expos could be used to create a green legacy with many expo sites turning into green public amenities.
TV gardening identity and Australian Garden Council chairman Graham Ross said there were 300 million garden tourists travelling the world each year, with only about 2 percent coming to Australia.
He said the AGC strongly supported Australis and called on all levels of government to play their part alongside the private sector, which is expected to fund at least 80 per cent of the expo.
Successful examples of botanic attractions include Singapore’s renowned Gardens by the Bay and the UK’s Eden Project.
Image 2: Singapore's Gardens by the Bay; Image 3: UK's Eden Project; Image 4: Steven Haggart.