How to organise a successful expo

The International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) held an International Horticultural Expo on the 18th September 2018 in Padova, Italy, as part of the AIPH 70th Congress. The conference focused on ‘How to organise a successful Expo’ and was relevant to anyone involved or interested in organising such an event. Over eighty delegates attended the full-day event which included presentations from distinguished speakers, progress updates from International Horticulture Expo organisers and opportunities for discussion and networking.

The conference was opened by AIPH President Bernard Oosterom who said: “This event plays an important part in the organisation’s role to fulfil its duties in regulating International Horticultural Expos and brings together event organisers from around the world.”

Keynote speaker Mr Kees van Rooij, former mayor of the region of Venlo presented outcomes, five years on, from the Floriade Expo in 2012. He reported that the significant investment in infrastructure for Floriade has continued to boost development in industry, commerce, education and international relations within the region. Venlo is now a horticultural centre with a substantial logistics hub, two high-tech campus university sites (Brightlands and GreenPark), increasing tourism and a notable rise in visits from international delegates. Mr van Rooij stated that a key factor in achieving this success was the creation of a clear regional identity which has strengthened Venlo’s reputation as a horticultural region. He is optimistic for the future too, saying that “Floriade was a ‘cradle-to-cradle’ project and its legacy will benefit future generations to come.”

Addressing the challenge of achieving early financial success from an Expo, Mr Vincenzo Grassi of PwC (Italy) used his experience of Expo 2015 in Milan to illustrate the importance of investment planning. This includes creating strong partner engagement and brand recognition to secure private sector support which can often be more reliable than that from public institutions and be a real engine for success.

Ms Hanim Dur of Green Cities Consultancy in Turkey presented a project she is completing for AIPH to create an Expo archive of previously held Expos and a database of international Expo contacts. The project will provide an invaluable tool for anyone planning an Expo by providing guidance on the AIPH-approval application process and access to a store of specialist knowledge and potential participants. The database will be accessible to organisers of AIPH-approved Expos only.

Practical advice for managing an Expo throughout its duration was provided by Mr John Boon of ARCADIS. He spoke on the importance of building strong communication and cooperation between landscape architects and ground maintenance staff to ensure the highest standard for a planted landscape is maintained for visitors.

The afternoon provided an opportunity for event organisers to present progress reports on Expos and exhibitions planned up until 2022-3. Reports on AIPH-approved A1 Expos were presented for Beijing (2019), Qatar (2010), Almere (2022) and Lodz (2024). Progress was also reported on the AIPH-approved A2/B1 Expo in Taichung, which opens in November 2018, category B events in Hatay (2021) and Yangzhou (2021) and a C category event, Floralies, in Nantes (2019).

Finally, applications for AIPH approval was made for two B Expos in Kahramanmaras, Turkey (2023) and Australis, Sydney, (2022) and two annual trade fairs – Greentech, Netherlands and Flormart, Padova (2019).

Speaking on AIPH’s role to approve horticultural Expos and exhibitions, President Bernard Oosterom said: “We are proud to approve horticultural Expos and support you in embracing and promoting excellence, novel concepts and ground-breaking ideas that stimulate millions of people to bring about a change for good in the way we appreciate ornamental plants and flowers.”

The AIPH Expo Conference was hosted by Flormart, Padova and supported by AIPH member the Italian Nursery Stock Exporters Association (ANVE).

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