South Australian Business News

Glassblower Dale Chihuly to blow big economic benefit into SA

Anthony Caldwell
Monday, November 27th 2023

The South Australian Business Chamber has welcomed today’s announcement of a partnership between the Government of South Australia and the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium to present a seven-month exhibition by world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly, said to commence in September 2024.

Andrew Kay, Chief Executive of the South Australian Business Chamber expects this exhibition will bring benefits to businesses across the entire state. 

Unique tourism-based initiatives not only enhance Adelaide’s appeal but also positively impact businesses throughout South Australia. 

This world-renowned exhibition, which is a first in the Southern Hemisphere, will be centred at the Botanic Gardens and is poised to drive significant visitor activity in our state. 

Importantly, the exhibit has longevity, running across the seasons, giving people a reason to return again and again to witness these works of art in a changing natural environment,” said Mr Kay. 

Michael Harvey, Director of Adelaide Botanic Garden is thrilled that Adelaide has succeeded in securing Chihuly.

It will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience an extensive collection of Chihuly’s monumental works in the beautiful setting of a botanic garden.“

Over the seven months we are hosting Chihuly’s masterpieces, we look forward to welcoming, both garden lovers and art enthusiasts and visitors of all ages who appreciate a visually stunning experience that will guarantee to surprise and delight.

In a submission to the state government ahead of the 2023 – 2024 budget, the South Australian Business Chamber highlighted botanic garden projects by Chihuly had become iconic around the world, recently attracting over one million visitors at London’s Kew Gardens and over half a million at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay. 

Chihuly exhibition in Phoenix Arizona — Photo, Shutterstock

Highlighting the potential economic impact, the South Australian Business Chamber referenced Dale Chihuly’s 2021 exhibition at the Desert Botanic Garden in Phoenix, Arizona — a city with a population comparable to Adelaide. 

The Phoenix exhibition drew over 600,000 visitors, contributing to an effective return of $32.6 million. Impressively, 31% of attendees were from outside the state”. 

The South Australian Business Chamber understands visitor spending in Phoenix exceeded AUD$17.1 million on dining, nightlife, accommodation, and retail during the exhibition.

The South Australian Business Chamber urges local creative and business communities to leverage the heightened interest in the arts in South Australia during this period, maximising the potential benefits of the state’s investment,” Mr Kay added.

Zoe Bettison, Minister for Tourism and Multicultural Affairs says the project will act as an important driver of national and international cultural tourism to our state and showcase our Botanic Gardens to new and returning visitors.

The timing of this Australian first exclusive exhibition in our very own Adelaide Botanic Gardens will cross over three school holiday periods as well as several other major events that our city is well known for giving visitors a reason to stay in Adelaide a little longer and immerse themselves in art and nature,” said the Minister.

This announcement follows the recent recognition of the Adelaide Botanic Garden as a Garden of the World Worth Travelling for in 2024’ at the International Garden Tourism Awards, solidifying South Australia’s reputation as a global destination for cultural and horticultural experiences.


Anthony Caldwell

Manager, Marketing, Media, Communications
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