Tue, October 26, 2010
China > Mainland > 2010 World Expo draws to an end

Record number of visitors swarm into Shanghai Expo

2010-10-16 15:38:58 GMT2010-10-16 23:38:58 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Tourists watch performance at the Asia Theatre of the World Expo Park in Shanghai, east China, Oct. 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Pei Xin)

SHANGHAI, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- A total of 1.03 million people visited the Shanghai World Exposition on Saturday, a record number since the Expo opened. The total number also exceeded an earlier record.

The Expo had received some 64.62 million visitors by the end of Saturday, the 169th day since the event began on May 1. The previous record was set during the 1970 Osaka World Expo in Japan, which about 64 million people attended over a six month period.

Attendance may be increasing since this is the first weekend after the week-long National Day holiday and the second to last weekend before the final seven designated days from Oct. 25-31.

Since early this morning, the Expo' s public transportation system has been under great pressure as visitors have been seen throughout the Expo site.

Visitors needed to queue up for more than one hour before being admitted to most pavilions. Some popular pavilions, including the Oil Pavilion and Space Home Pavilion, stopped visitors from queuing up by 4 or 5 p.m. because of the large crowds.

Many visitors could only walk around, take pictures outside of pavilions, or have picnics at rest area. Further, all parades were canceled due to the large number of visitors.

Zhou Qian and Dai Shishi from Hangzhou described the long queues as "horrible". But Zhou said she had been prepared for the situation as they visited seven pavilions, including the Egyptian and Spanish pavilions.

A visitor surnamed Zhang and her daughter, a high school student in Shanghai, entered the site at 11 a.m. but had only visited three pavilions by 6:30 p.m.

"And all of them are small ones. It's not a proper time to come, but it's not easy for my daughter to be free," Zhang said.

A series of measures have been taken to deal with the situation, according to the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo.

When the number exceeded 700,000 visitors, organizers made announcements to visitors through the World Expo official website, TV Station, mobile televisions, and telecommunication operators.

Visitors were persuaded to avoid peak times on televisions seen on subways in the morning, and in the afternoons they were advised not to continue entering the site today.

Tourists visit the World Expo Park in Shanghai, east China, Oct. 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Pei Xin)

However, organizers did not close entrances early.

Earlier, more security personnel were assigned to quicken the speed of visitors passing through the entrances. Officials said nearly 270,000 people entered the Expo site during the first hour, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., setting a new record since May 1.

Also, many resources were put into use, including 20 more buses, 6,000 meters of fencing, and many temporary toilets. More ferry and bus shifts have also been arranged and ferry service has been extended from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m..

Organizers also strengthened examination and maintenance of fences outside pavilions, drinking machines, benches in rest areas, and also sped up cleaning work. Additionally, officials informed visitors about queuing up times by using text messages.

Organizers began guiding visitors out of the Expo park at 4 p.m., as six emergency exits were opened to assist with the crowds.

An official with the Shanghai World Expo Bureau said, based upon past experience, large numbers of visitors are expected during the final month of the Expo.

Organizers had created a plan at the end of September to prepare for these crowds, including increasing available public transportation, entrances and exits, facilities, services for visitors, and adding drink and food supplies.

Huang Jianzhi, deputy director general of the Bureau of Shanghai World, said at the beginning that 200,000 daily visitors would be a great test for the organizers, but as time went by the capability of dealing with large numbers of visitors greatly improved due to continuous efforts in providing better service and through better preparations.

"We won't set limits to the number of visitors for the remainder of the regular days, though the daily numbers in the last week will be limited to 400,000 to 500,000," Huang said.

Zhang said that although they might not fulfill their goal of visiting 10 pavilions today, it would be a pity if they hadn't come.

"Seeing it with our own eyes is great, no matter how many times you have seen it on TV," she said.

Tourists visit the World Expo Park in Shanghai, east China, Oct. 16, 2010. The number of visitors entering the Expo Park on Saturday topped 1 million as of 6:30 p.m., setting a new daily visitor record. So far, the event has attracted 64.5 million visitors, breaking the previous record which is 64 million by the Osaka Expo in 1970. (Xinhua/Pei Xin)

Tourists visit the World Expo Park in Shanghai, east China, Oct. 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Pei Xin)

Tourists visit the World Expo Park in Shanghai, east China, Oct. 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Pei Xin)

Tourists visit the World Expo Park in Shanghai, east China, Oct. 16, 2010. The number of visitors entering the Expo Park on Saturday topped 1 million as of 6:30 p.m., setting a new daily visitor record. So far, the event has attracted 64.5 million visitors, breaking the previous record which is 64 million by the Osaka Expo in 1970. (Xinhua/Fan Youming)

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