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Stamp mania riles staff

Some Expo visitors seem to be there only for the stamps.

They get their souvenir passports stamped as soon as they enter a pavilion and leave immediately afterward, without even glimpsing at the pavilion's exhibits. Or they'll carry several hundred passports and hope to get them all stamped.

Now some pavilions are stamping their feet down.

They're so fed up with the visitors' behavior that they've tightened their rules or quit providing the service altogether.

Philip Lote, communication official with the Norway Pavilion, said Norway stopped the stamping service on Tuesday.

"We want people to see our pavilion, not to get as many stamps as they can," Lote said. "Some people would speak in very bad language to our staff, even make bad physical actions. We considered it as intimidation to our pavilion."

Lote said Denmark and Sweden pavilions also cancelled the stamping for the same reason. They plan to talk to the Expo bureau before deciding whether to resume it.

"Visitors' behavior is much better after we stopped the stamping," Lote said.

Since the Expo opened on May 1, enthusiasm for collecting the souvenir stamps has been far beyond participants' expectation.

The Ireland Pavilion's stamp has actually been damaged from overuse.

"And we have to place two to three attendants a day to stamp visitors' passports, which is different from our original plan," said a pavilion worker named Amy. She said a new stamp might be available next week.

Yesterday, there were mountains of visitors outside the France Pavilion, nudging each other and scrambling for the stamp. Since its attendant offered stamping outside, some visitors just gave up queuing for the pavilion. They left right after they got the stamps.

At the Africa Joint Pavilion, there's no need to wait in lines to get inside. But if you want to stamp your passports, you have to be patient and queue for some time.

Zhou Wei, a media official with the Finland Pavilion, said Finland will only offer five stamps at most to one visitor.

They made the decision after receiving some people who had several hundred copies of Expo passports to stamp - an imposition to other tourists, Zhou said.

The Austria Pavilion has a slightly different practice: one person, one stamp only.

Turkey, on the other hand, encourages visitors' stamp collecting. The Turkish pavilion plans to change the pattern of its stamp every month. Visitors may remember when they saw the pavilion by looking at the stamp.


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