It’s hoped a visit by Sir Richard Branson and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani to Queensland later this year will provide a much-needed shot in the arm as business tries to recover from the summer floods.
Sir Richard and Mr Giuliani will headline Brisbane’s 2011 Asia Pacific Cities Summit from July 6-9. The conference, held every two years, is held to drive economic growth and help local businesses enter the Asia Pacific market.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said having the high profile pair at the conference was “unashamedly” about attracting delegates to the city.
“These two speakers, we believe, will give an extra level of prominence and interest to attract people from around the globe,” he told reporters on Friday.
“We will be pulling out all stops to showcase Brisbane.
“People internationally have seen the scenes of devastation, but they’ve also seen a city that rallied, they’ve seen the volunteer effort, they’ve seen the fast clean-up and now we want to show people what the city’s really all about.”
Mr Newman said more than 1500 delegates from more than 100 cities could attend the event. They would find Brisbane was a great city that had bounced back and was open for business, he said.
He said the event would provide a great shot in the arm for the southeast.
The previous summit in 2009 had led to more than $4 million in business being done, he said.
Mr Newman said there was a “certain symmetry” between Mr Giuliani’s experience rebuilding New York and Brisbane’s circumstance now.
“We are inspired, I think all of us, by what he did in New York, particularly how he had to handle that terrible day – September 11, 2001 – and the aftermath,” he said.
“And I think there is a certain symmetry in what he had to do and, dare I say it, what’s happened in the city of Brisbane with our recovery as well.
“So I think that works quite well for us.”
He also cited Sir Richard’s connections with Brisbane, being the headquarters of his Virgin Blue company.
The state government will chip in more than $300,000 to sponsor the summit, with the council spending up to $450,000 on the $1.8 million event.