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Expo ticket deals for early bird buys

LOCAL residents will be able to buy tickets for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo starting in July, the organizers said yesterday, promising there will be enough to go around.

Early birds will get a price break, as will those who buy multi-day packages or wait for special nighttime prices for the Expo, which runs from May 1 to October 31.

Corporations and organizations can begin to buy group tickets on March 27.

The organizers have appointed four major tickets agents in China: China Mobile, China Telecom, China Post and the Bank of Communications.

Those companies will announce details on ticket sales locations and provide online booking services to people around the world in the near future.

Visitors can buy tickets during the event at the entrances to the site, or through tickets offices and automated machines that will be located around Shanghai. Tickets will allow access to all Expo pavilions.

Regular tickets will cost 160 yuan (US$23.5) during the event while those for holidays and other peak periods will be 200 yuan.

Early birds who buy between March and the end of June can get discounts of 30 yuan on each type of ticket. There are two other bargain phases prior to the event offering lesser discounts.

Night tickets, which will be sold daily starting from 5pm once the Expo begins, will cost 90 yuan.

A three-day ticket will cost 400 yuan and a seven-day ticket 900 yuan.

The Expo site will be open from 9am to midnight although exhibitors will operate only from 9:30am to 10:30pm.

Seniors, physically challenged people, students, children and military personnel will be eligible for discounts. Children less than 1.2 meters tall can visit the site free if accompanied by an adult.

Around 62 million tickets will be made available to the public.

Tickets will be sold separately for the opening ceremony on April 30 and the closing ceremony on October 31. Detailed plans will be announced later.

Income from ticket sales is expected to reach 6 billion yuan. The overall budget for the event totals 28.6 billion yuan.

Meanwhile yesterday, the visiting secretary general of the International Exhibitions Bureau expressed confidence in the city's preparations.

"I am pleased to see construction of the pavilions is progressing. It is progressing well, according to plan," Vicente Loscertales told Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng.

Organizers told a press conference yesterday they were optimistic that about 70 million visitors would come, despite the current gloomy world economy.

Zhong Yanqun, deputy director of the Expo National Organizing Committee, said 231 countries and international organizations have confirmed their participation as of Monday. She said market research showed about 95 percent of the 70 million visitors would be native Chinese, and the rest foreigners.

Despite the financial crisis, which started to affect China in the second half of last year, 5.26 million people from outside the Chinese mainland visited Shanghai in 2008, up 1.23 percent year on year.

The Expo is on track to be the largest fair of its kind since the first World's Fair (known as the Great Exhibition), the Expo's predecessor event, was held in London in 1851.

Zhu Yonglei, deputy director general of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination, said no attendees have declined to come because of the global economic downturn.


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