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August 12, 2011

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Saudi Pavilion to open this October

THE Saudi Arabia Pavilion will open to the public in October with tickets costing 60 yuan (US$9.35), a top World Expo organizer said yesterday.

The pavilion will open only to group visitors at the beginning to avoid huge crowds rushing to the site, which was among the most popular pavilions at the World Expo 2010, said Ding Hao, president of the Expo Development Group, which is organizing the future of the Expo site.

Travel agencies and social groups will be invited to organize visitors to the pavilion, which may open to individuals once the organizer gains experience coping with large crowds, Ding told a press conference.

During the 184-day Expo, people had to wait as long as nine hours to enter the pavilion that featured a 15-minute film about the Middle Eastern country on a 360-degree, 1,600-square-meter screen, said to be the world's largest.

Ding also announced more detailed plans for the future development of the 5.28-square-kilometer Expo site. The former Zone A in Pudong, which housed Asian pavilions at the Expo, will host headquarters of companies from China and abroad. The group will invite public bids from companies to enter the area.

The Expo Zone B, which mainly held pavilions of international organizations, has been designated as the site of headquarters for 13 of China's state-owned enterprises including the Baosteel and State Grid. A five-star hotel will be built in the area to accommodate staff members of the enterprises.

Plans for Zone C, the European pavilions site, are still up in the air. But the Italy and Luxemburg pavilions will open to the public in March.

In Puxi, the plan calls for demolition of the corporate pavilions in Zone D, but Ding said the companies can present their pavilions to the organizer for other uses.

The Urban Best Practices Area in Zone E, the final Shanghai Expo creation, will become a cultural and innovative park. The area will also be rented to foreign chambers of commerce for their offices.


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