The massive building site that will host the expo is looking increasingly impressive and the event is sure to be an eye-opener. As the Beijing Olympics taught us, China does big-scale public events better than any other country in the world, and the expo will be very much in that mould. What it is not widely realized is how attractive these Expos are to people overseas, not just to locals.
The city’s historic Bund promenade has reopened after extensive – and at over $500 million, expensive – renovations.
Connie Cheng, deputy head of Shanghai’s tourism administration told local media, “We are still actively working on activities to attract 70 million visitors and we remain positive on reaching this target.”.
Shanghai has always been China’s most elegant city. But the government has spent over $30 billion on upgrading the infrastructure and public transport in the city of 18 million people ahead of the expo.
Much of the city refit is similar to what went on in Beijing in the run-up to the Olympics. Orders handed down from the Shanghai municipal authorities saying: “Be friendly. Don’t cut in line. Keep to the right while driving and walking”, echo those issued in the run-up to the 2008 games in the capital.
Irish Times is an example of how overseas countries view the importance of the Expo. Ireland’s representation expects between 10,000 and 12,000 visitors expected at the Irish pavilion each day. This may be because Ireland’s profile will also be boosted further by the pavilion operated by Irish microbrewery Porterhouse.