Shanghai world expo woes

Visitor numbers for the World Expo
in Shanghai, in its first three days of opening, have been far lower than the
organisers had predicted.

Some 70 million visitors – mostly
Chinese – are expected to visit the enormous site over the six months that the
fair is open.

But to achieve this, more than
380,000 people need to visit each day.

So far, the highest number of
visitors in any one day has been about 215,000, according to the organisers’
website.

First there is the queue. At one
point 25,000 people were waiting to go through security at one of the gates.
They were stuck there for hours.

It is a similar story at the
popular pavilions.

The British designed their seed
cathedral as a quiet space for reflection and contemplation. They did not put
anything inside it.

Some visitors waited four hours to
enter. As one man moaned to me: “That’s a lot of waiting to see… well…
nothing.”

Another complained that Japan
forces visitors to watch each part of its exhibition in full before they can
move along to the next. He said he had feared he would never be allowed to
leave.

To visit the China pavilion, you
need a special reservation ticket. On day one, they were all issued in the
first five minutes. On day two, the supply lasted longer but ran out just 20
minutes after the park opened.

Not surprisingly, the problems are
affecting turnout.

By lunchtime on Monday, 40 per cent
fewer people had entered the park than by the same time on Sunday – despite the
fact that it is a public holiday here.

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