Visitors figures for the Glee trade show, released this week, show that it attracted more people than ever, with even higher figures expected next year.
Glee sales director Gordon Thomas said: “Bringing in more international buyers was probably the best thing at Glee. We want to grow the overseas market further next year, particularly visitors who will buy from UK exhibitors.
“The UK is recognised as having the world’s greatest gardeners and gardens and that endorsement is going to bring buyers from Europe and around the world.
“I don’t think there has ever been a Glee where so many people said it was a brilliant show. Everything’s just so buoyant at the moment.
Vice-president Frank Oliver, of Vermont-based US garden product distributor Gardener’s Supply Company, reflected the international view in a letter to Thomas.
He wrote: “Back in the good old days, Chicago and Cologne were the prime venues and Glee just represented ‘local’ English flavour on a small scale. Most of the exhibitors had no international sense and the logistics for international visitors was sparse. Today, you stand out as a model of the industry and should be proud of your leadership and the fact that you are making a significant impact to facilitate the international business of your gardening industry.”
Auditors reported record numbers of visitors and exhibitors at Glee. Overseas visitor figures grew by the biggest percentage at last month’s Birmingham show, a rise of 16 per cent. UK visitors also increased by five per cent to 23,559. Combined figures were 25,886, up by almost six per cent on 2002.
Exhibitor numbers were up too at 1,528 (1,412 in 2002). International exhibitors numbered 217 and UK exhibitors 1,311.
Glee, which has been showing at the NEC since 1976, will take place on 19-21 September next year.
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