Shanghai World Expo vows to outdo Olympics

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 April, 2009, 12:00am

The Shanghai World Expo next year will attract a more enthusiastic response than the Beijing Olympics, China Travel Service says.

Tickets officially went on sale in Hong Kong yesterday and China Travel Service (Hong Kong) Limited has been appointed as the city's sole official ticketing agent.

Chairman Jeremy Xu was confident that the company would surpass the sales record for the Beijing Olympics of last year, with more than 178,000 tickets sold.

Chen Xianjin, deputy director general of the Shanghai World Expo Co-ordination Bureau, said 233 countries and international organisations had confirmed their participation, the highest rate in the 160 years of world expo history, and 196 had already signed the agreement.

'But in any previous world expo, there were bound to be some 6 to 8 per cent of participants who would eventually withdraw for one reason or another. But up till now, we have not received any notice of withdrawal or scaling down of investment due to the global financial downturn,' Mr Chen said.

Taiwan is being asked to take part in the Shanghai expo.

Permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Joshua Law Chi-kong said Hong Kong would build a separate pavilion within the China pavilion area. The city's use of its home-grown, smart-card technology in improving efficiency and quality of life would be showcased in the 'urban best practices areas' exhibition. Mr Law said a 'virtual' Hong Kong pavilion would be created to give online visitors a cyber experience of the expo.

Hong Kong is the first place outside the mainland where world expo tickets will be sold. Tickets go on sale in Macau today.

Prices will be from HK$154 to HK$201 and tickets will be released in three phases: sales to companies, groups and students. Individual tickets will be available from July. Children less than 1.2 metres tall can enjoy free admission. But there will be no complimentary tickets for less privileged people.

Focus of attention

The Shanghai World Expo will run from May 1 to October 31 next year

The organisers expect this number of local and international visitors: 70m