[photopress:crystalpalace_1.jpg,full,alignright]The next few years is going to be important for hotels in Beijing and Shanghai. And possibly elsewhere in China.
First we have the Olympic Games which will give a tremendous boost to the industry — an industry you would think needs little boosting. Then in 2010 comes the Shanghai World Expo. Most every major country will be taking part. For example, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has personally written to his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao, saying that ‘the Japanese government has officially decided to take part in the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.’
To date, 89 countries and international organizations have confirmed they will participate in the Shanghai Expo. Among them the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, the United Nations and the World Bank.
Alina Romanowski, an official with the U.S. State Department, who is mainly in charge of cultural exchanges, said the 2010 Shanghai World Expo will be a brand new platform for Sino-U.S. communication and cooperation.
He said the U.S. government attaches great importance to the exposition and has officially decided to attend.
So what is an expo about?
It probably all started in Britain with Prince Albert and the Great Exhibition on 1851 which was held in a Crystal Palace, seen here, which was built in Hyde Park. An amazing success quickly followed by similar exhibitions around the world. The 1939 New York World’s Fair and the 1949 Stockholm World’s Fair moved in a slightly different direction.
Expos became more strongly based on a specific theme of cultural significance, and began to address issues of mankind. They became more future oriented and less directly commercial. Technology and inventions remained important, but no longer as the principal subjects of the Expo.
Then in the the last twenty years countries have started to use the world expo more widely and more strongly as a platform to improve their national images through their pavilions. Improving the national image is now the primary participation goal for most exhibitors. An Expo, to use marketing jargon, helps ‘nation branding’.
The nearest parallel we have with China is, strangely, Spain. That country used Expo ’92 and the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona (both held in the same year) to put across and image of a a modern and democratic country and a prominent member of the global community.
2010 Shanghai World Expo following only two years after the Olympic Games will have the same effect.
Both are massively important in the perception of China abroad. Both are great opportunities to presents the wonders of modern China to the world. And both will make the hotels of Beijing and Shanghai a very large amount of money.
Source: Xinhua and research
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