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On target as visitor total reaches 20m

THE total number of Expo visitors reached 20 million yesterday morning and organizers say they are on target to reach the 70 million forecast before the event began.
Bumper crowds are expected today and tomorrow as more than 500,000 free tickets due to expire at the end of the month have yet to be used.
Zhang Qing, deputy director of the Expo Operation Headquarters, said that about 2.2 million people had received free Expo gift packs for June from the Shanghai government, and more than a quarter of the tickets had yet to be used.
Zhang urged people who received free Expo packs for July to visit early in the month to avoid a huge number of visitors coming at the last minute before the tickets expire on July 31.
Some people were still trying to sell their June tickets online yesterday at low prices before they go out of date and are rendered worthless. One resident in the Pudong New Area said he was looking for 60 yuan (US$8.8) for his 160 yuan ticket as he had no time to visit before it expired.
Another man, surnamed Ma, said online that he had managed to sell his ticket for 80 yuan on Saturday.
Many people who received free tickets never had any intention of visiting the Expo.
Some Chongming Island residents, the first group to receive the packs, began selling them immediately after distribution began on May 15. Prices ranged from 250 yuan to 270 yuan for the packs, which included a 200-yuan transport card in addition to the 160-yuan Expo ticket.
Many more people were selling the tickets on their own, without the transport card, with prices falling rapidly as the expiry date approached.
However, Expo organizers are urging people not to sell the gift packs and to report buyers to the police.


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