EXPO 2017 was a great success and its positive impacts will be long-lasting, according to Astana EXPO 2017 National Company Board Chair Akhmetzhan Yessimov, who reported on the event’s results during the recent the 162nd Session of the International Exhibition Bureau (IEB) General Assembly.
EXPO 2017 was June 10 to Sept. 10 in Astana and was held under the theme of Future Energy. It attracted governments and private industry leaders from around the world and was visited by nearly four million people.
According to Yessimov, the number of visitors exceeded the planned figure twofold and Kazakhstan’s national pavilion Nur Alem alone was visited by 1.3 million people. Preparing for and hosting the exhibition also increased Kazakh GDP growth by 4.3 percent. Commodity production grew by 70 percent and demand for tourist services by 78 percent.
“We faced three main tasks to solve: to ensure participation of 100 and more countries and seven international organisations, attract over two million visitors and host the event at a high organisational level. As you know, expo was participated in by 115 countries and 22 organisations. The exhibition was visited by almost four million people, and the number of visits amounted to over 33 million. As it had been anticipated, 15 percent of the guests were foreign tourists from 187 countries,” stressed Akhmetzhan Yessimov in his report.
Kazakh small businesses got the opportunity to develop contacts with similar industry participants from around the world. EXPO 2017 also better positioned Kazakhstan as an international tourism destination.
Since June 10, 4.5 million people have visited Astana, which is 1.5 times as many as in the same period of the past year. The event also provided Astana the opportunity to renovate parks, public gardens, roads and other elements of the city. Other projects were also implemented, including the new terminal of Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport, contemporary railway station, comfortable restaurants and more.
While the event was praised, French Pavilion Commissioner General Pascal Lorot noted that it was just the beginning of Kazakhstan’s tourism effort.
“To attract tourists, you should realise the touristic potential your country has, you need infrastructure, promotion of Kazakhstan on the global stage and, of course, experience of work with large tourist inflow. And I am positive that expo is the beginning of a new era of Kazakhstani tourism. During hosting of the exhibition, the expo area was visited by almost 4 million guests and the occupancy of Astana hotels amounted to 70 percent,” expressed his opinion the French Pavilion Commissioner General Pascal Lorot.
And, even before EXPO 2017 opened its doors, organisers designed the large exposition area to be used after the event ended.
The foremost attraction of the event was Kazakhstan’s national Nur Alem pavilion – a unique spherical building 100 metres tall and 20,000 square metres total.
“We hope that the main EXPO facility will be included in the world treasury of architecture and urbanistics alongside of Chrystal Palace in London, Eiffel’s Tower in Paris and Rotunda in Vienne,” stressed Akhmetzhan Yessimov.
On Nov. 11, the Nur Alem National Pavilion, Best Practice Area, two thematic pavilions and Art Center opened their doors again.
The event also boosted Kazakhstan and the world’s progress on green technologies. Many of the technologies showcased during the exposition have been adopted and are being commercially developed.
The expo site will also house the Future Energy International Centre for the Development of Green Technologies and Investment Projects, which will promote Kazakhstan’s transition to a green economy and renewable energy.
“The centre will ensure the interaction of countries, primarily from the Central Asian region, in the transfer of green technologies and consulting, training and technology demonstration, including expert examination and advice on green financing, which will enhance the implementation of green projects in all countries of the Central Asian region,” said Minister of Energy Kanat Bozumbayev.
From tourism to increased economic activity to the development of long-term renewable energy solutions, EXPO 2017 will continue to have a positive impact on Kazakhstan and the world.