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August 3, 2010

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Mid-term reports praise work of Expo organizers

NOW that the World Expo Shanghai has reached its halfway point, some participants have volunteered their verdicts on the first three months.

Their mid-term reports reveal concerns, past difficulties, future projections, statistics, improvements and relations with the organizers.

"The past three months has been significant as everyone went from not knowing exactly what to expect and what would happen to the current smooth operation," Dietmar Schmitz, commissioner general of the Germany Pavilion, said yesterday.

"The Expo Bureau was inexperienced, which is quite natural because it was the first time for them to organize such a large fair, but they have been quite open to accept suggestions and give support."

The Germany Pavilion had welcomed 2 million visitors by July 30 and Schmitz said that was an impressive achievement. The pavilion expects to have received 4 million visitors by the time Expo closes.

Many other pavilions have also been impressed at the number of visitors, and particularly at the passion and patience of the visitors.

The USA Pavilion has adjusted its prediction of the number of visitors from 5 million to 7 million, based on current statistics. It had received some 3.6 million visitors up to yesterday.

Frank Lavin, chairman of the pavilion's steering committee, compared the 7 million prediction to the number of Chinese expected to visit the United States this year - 640,000. He added that about 54 million Chinese would travel overseas this year while the Expo would receive more than 60 million visitors.

"The patience of Chinese visitors has impressed me the most since the opening of Expo, as they have to wait for more than five hours for our pavilion," said Abdulrahman al-Shaikh, commissioner general of the Saudi Arabia Pavilion.

"To me and other Saudi Arabia people, the maximum waiting time would be three hours," he said.

During the first three months, many popular pavilions became concerned about the long queues, and managed to decrease the time spent lining up and make the wait more enjoyable with support from the organizers.

Sunshades and electric fans were installed at the queuing areas and ice blocks put near long lines when temperatures rose.

Many pavilions invited musicians and artists to entertain queuing visitors and added more interactive corners outside the pavilions.


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