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Souvenir spending falls

EXPENSIVE gold and silver souvenirs have not proved popular with visitors, Expo organizers said when they revealed that the average amount spent on souvenirs this month had dropped to 17 yuan (US$2.5) per person compared with 25 yuan when the event opened.

Organizers had expected every visitor would spend about 35 yuan on average to buy souvenirs at the site.

Officials said the slide was because many of the students who came to the site during their summer vacation didn't have a lot to spend and local residents who were there because they had received free tickets from the Shanghai government and would not buy as many souvenirs as those from outside the city.

There were also many people visiting the site for the second or third time who had bought the souvenirs they wanted on their first visit.

Souvenir stores needed to offer some new products to attract them, said Chen Xianjin, deputy director general of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.

At a meeting of all the store owners at the Expo, Chen asked them to begin selling more souvenirs suitable for visitors from abroad because they "flew far away to watch the Expo and should take some meaningful souvenirs home."

T-shirts with Expo logos printed on them were the most popular souvenirs for foreign visitors, said Gao Wenmao, assistant manager of the flagship souvenir store in Pudong. They also like pins and stuffed Haibao toys, he said. Gold and silver products at higher prices were not so popular and Chen said they would reconsider whether these products were suitable for sale at the Expo site.

Expo 2010 has a total of 16,000 categories of Expo souvenirs, about 3,000 of which are available within the site.

Chen said that a wider variety of souvenir should be on offer at the Expo.

Total sales from the 79 souvenir stores at the Expo have reached 460 million yuan since the opening on May 1, somewhat lower than earlier expectation given the huge number of visitors, he said.

The stores at the France and Finland pavilions were the most popular of those in foreign pavilions, said Lin Shengyong, director of the site's commercial administration and service department.


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