Shanghai 2010 Expo breaks World Fair attendance record

Shanghai 2010 Expo breaks World Fair attendance record

With seven days left in the Expo, the event surpasses its attendance goal
Shanghai 2010 ExpoExpo 2010 has beaten the World Fair attendance record set in Osaka in 1970.

Someone can tell the 2010 Expo crowds to go home now -- China has met the 70-million-person attendance goal it set for the six-month event.

With a week to go before the end of Shanghai Expo (the China Pavilion will reopen in December), the event has hit its attendance target.

Expo officials around Shanghai are breathing a collective sigh of relief.

On Sunday, the last day visitors with standard tickets were allowed into the Expo site, more than 748,300 people visited the grounds, bringing attendance to a total of 70.45 million people.

The consistently long lines at the 2010 pavilions have made the Shanghai 2010 Expo the most attended event in World Fair's history.

The 2010 Expo has to hosted an average of 370,000 visitors a day.

The 70-million-person goal was not randomly selected. Shanghai Expo organizers chose their attendance target based on the 1970 Osaka Expo, the previous record holder. That event drew 64.21 million visitors.

To beat the record, China had to attract 6 percent of its population to the Shanghai 2010 Expo.

Shortly after the Expo opened on May 1, 2010, event watchers were doubtful that the 70-million-person record would be broken, as the number of daily visitors was far below 370,000.

Some of the attendance increase was credited to government-sponsored tour groups.

The explosion of crowds visiting the Expo during over the past month has strained Expo facilities.

"Our prime concern is that visitors have a good experience at the Expo," said Hong Hao, director of the Shanghai Expo Coordination Bureau. "But, of course, we are happy that this record has been achieved."

Daily attendance at 2010 Expo exceeded 600,000 last week.

The Expo is far from over. Crowds are likely to increase in this final week.

Xu Ding, an administrator with the operation center, explained to Shanghai Daily that officials cannot relax quite yet, with crowd sizes for the next week still unpredictable.

"It still remains unknown how many people will switch standard tickets for peak-time ones," he said.

Although visitors can no longer use standard tickets at the Expo, visitors can pay an additional RMB 40 to convert unused standard tickets to the peak-day tickets valid this week.

 

A borough-bred Manhattanite, editor and writer Jessica Beaton lived in Shanghai for five years and has now moved to Hong Kong.

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