Garden Expo 2010 cancelled

Garden Expo 2010 has been cancelled after its organiser Clarion Events blamed a lack of industry support

In a statement released today (1 April), Clarion said: "Although there was wide-spread industry support for a new and alternative event for the sector, sadly the support was not strong enough to sustain the launch, and the difficult decision has been made to cancel the event. The event's sponsors and exhibitors have been informed of the decision this morning."

The HTA's National Plant Show and Garden Expo - which were to run side by side - released their booking details last week, with 141 exhibitors between them, including around 80 for the National Plant Show.

Clarion Events chief executive Simon Kimble had told HW he hoped for 200 exhibitors at the show.

Clarion managing director Andy Baxter added: "It is with regret that Clarion Events have taken this decision. I am very proud of the work the team have done in securing the support of some of the industry's leading businesses, however we believe to continue any further would not serve the best interests of these customers and the market in general. Clarion Events would like to extend their thanks to all those involved in the event to this point, and in particular to the HTA for their support throughout - we wish them all the very best for the future".

The HTA National Plant Show remains unaffected and will take place as scheduled at Stoneleigh Park on June 29-30.

Glee director Dan Thurlow said:  "I'm suprised to be honest.  It doesn't really change the job that we are determined to do but if any people who chose Expo might now consider Glee that would be wonderful but that is their decision.  I don't know what the implications are for the National Plant Show, I always thought it should be a stand alone show.

"I think what Expo was testing was timing and we know it has been a big doubt around Glee for some time, whether there is a need for this type of show earlier in the year.  This might suggest there is not sufficient demand for a show like that earlier in the year."

He denied the cancellation was a sign of difficult market conditions, adding that Glee's exhibitor numbers were up year-on-year.

The HTA's director of commercial services Andrew Maxted told HW he was "disappointed for them", adding he did not feel the show was over ambitious.

"Garden Expo were quite realistic in their plans but we know things have come together, not least the economic uncertainty and the exchange rate, which have conspired against the manufacturing sector," he explained.

"Suffice to say, we have been in close dialogue with them and the decision has been made in the last couple of days.

"Feedback they have received is that there is a lot of interest but any new event requires people to take a step into the unknown. With the National Plant Show it was quite clear there was very little in the calendar that is competitive or provides a better opportunity for nurseries to come together."

HTA president and Scotsdales Garden Centre managing director Caroline Owen said:  "The news that the planned Garden Expo will not now take place alongside [the National Plant Show] is obviously disappointing, but the National Plant Show has always been planned as a stand alone event and the HTA has a strong independent marketing plan in place to ensure its success."

Farplants sales and marketing director Nick Richards added: "This decision by Clarion makes no difference to us. Whenever we speak to our customers they are excited at the prospect of the first true showcase for UK plant suppliers."

Maxted added that if the HTA's members showed an appetite for continuing with a non-plant exhibition alongside the NPS, he would "look at that".



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