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Adelaide Pandas bring $600 million boost

Adelaide Pandas bring $600 million boost
December 2, 2009

Although they have only just arrived in Australia, giant pandas Wang Wang and Funi are expected to provide a $600 million boost to the South Australian economy during their 10-year stay at the Adelaide Zoo.

Zoos South Australia Chief Executive Chris Woods said the pandas were expected to generate $632 million over the next decade based on an estimated $437 million to be spent on accommodation and hospitality by 1.5 million visitors, $30 million from increased Adelaide Zoo revenues and $165 million generated through the creation of 330 new jobs.

Dr West explained "there are 32 pandas in 12 zoos in eight countries in the world today but none anywhere else in the southern hemisphere.

"We are expecting huge numbers of Australian visitors, the vast majority of whom will have never seen a live panda."

Dr West said the arrival of giant pandas in North America and Europe had resulted in very significant increases in the global profile of the zoos and their host cities.

"The average increase in visitation at the US zoos has been 70% for about two years after their arrival and another 30% if and when baby pandas were born.

"Environmental tourism is rapidly becoming a major economic factor around the world, and the pandas are universally recognised as the ultimate ambassadors for conservation."

Zoos SA President Heather Caddick said while four-year-old Wang Wang and three-year-old Funi were likely to spend most of their day either eating or sleeping, the worldwide interest in the bears was easy to explain.

Caddick explained "pandas really are the world's most recognised and loved endangered animal.

"If you watch them you can see why, they're natural comics. You could really spend hours just watching them.

"There's something enigmatic about them."

Wang Wang and Funi left their home at the Panda Protection and Research Centre at Ya'an in China's Sichuan Province last Friday and arrived in Adelaide on Saturday.

The animals will spend the next month in quarantine, inside a new $8 million 25 acre panda enclosure which includes some innovative features such as refrigerated rocks to ensure they can handle the heat of an Australian summer.

Their first appearance comes on 13th December, when Governor-General Quentin Bryce officially opens their new home.


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