China confident to present successful, impressive World Expo despite challenges

The unprecedentedly large passenger flows might be a challenge for the upcoming World Expo, but China is confident of holding a “successful, wonderful and impressive World Expo”.

The World Expo has always been an opportunity to showcase the mankind’s great achievements and diverse cultures. According to the latest statistics, 189 countries and 57 international organizations were to attend the Expo.

The Danes have brought their “Little Mermaid” statue, together with the sea water of Copenhagen, to tell the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. The Czechs will display the 300-year-old bronze plaques that rest on the base of the Saint John Nepomucensis statue in Prague in their pavilion, while Canada’s Cirque du Soleil will present dazzling performances.

However, three countries — Bhutan, Kuwait and Burkina Faso, which had previously confirmed their attendance at the Expo, quit because of “various difficulties”, Hong Hao, director-general of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination, said at a press conference Wednesday.

With the opening of the Expo in only two days, organizers were stepping up efforts to iron out problems that emerged from the previous trial runs, including visitor complaints about the crowdedness, expensive food and paralyzed booking machines.

Problems exposed during the six trial runs of the Expo, between April 20 and April 26, had been corrected and services improved, said Yang Xiong, member of the Shanghai World Expo organizing committee.

More volunteers and public facilities, including chairs, wheel chairs and garbage cans, were added in the Expo park, while 88 temporary food sale booths were planned and traveling food stores would be added when necessary, said Yang, also executive deputy mayor of Shanghai.

Food prices at the Expo park saw a decline after organizers working to cut sellers’ operating costs and enhancing price monitoring, he said.

Eight years ago when the organizing work began, “we knew we had to face challenges at an unexpected scale,” and problems were expected to emerge during the Expo which would see “the largest park, the largest number of visitors and the largest number of participants”, said Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales, secretary-general of the Bureau of International Exposition.

The Shanghai World Expo, scheduled to open on May 1, will last six months. It will be the largest world exhibition ever and is expected to attract 70 million visitors from both home and abroad.

Shanghai is to present a “quality” World Expo despite challenges posed by its unprecedented size and an expected record high number of visitors, Loscertales said.

When the Expo opens its door to the world in just two days, “visitors will see that this challenge of quantity and quality had been very successfully met”, he said.