ON THE EVE by taoyni

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On the eve
of Expo
In the run up to this year’s Expo, shanghai is trying to live up to its new motto of
Better City, Better Life.

By NEwLEy purNELL




C
         hina often makes international headlines due to its ongoing
         economic progress. The country’s economy is rapidly maturing,and
         multinational companies are rushing to invest in, and trade with,
the nation that is home to nearly 1.4 billion people.
     For all of the news reports about China’s financial impact on the rest
of the world, however, one sector of the nation’s economy is sometimes
overlooked: China’s vast potential as a magnet for tourism. To be sure,
international visitors have long flocked to the country. But some may be
surprised at how quickly its cities have become tourist friendly.
     Take Shanghai, China’s business and shipping capital. With a
population of approximately 20 million, it is a staggering metropolitan
force, at once representative of China’s traditional past and indicative of
its modern, glittering future. Situated on China's east coast, the city is
bisected by the Huangpu River, with Pudong district on the east and Puxi
district on the west.
     Pudong, the newer part of the city, is home to Shanghai’s signature
buildings. The Oriental Pearl TV Tower boasts a design reminiscent of a
space ship with a soaring spire and two massive bulbs. Pudong is also
where you’ll find another architectural icon, the Shanghai World Financial
Centre. This breathtaking construction, completed in 2008, measures
492m in height, making it China’s tallest building and the world’s third
tallest. The building has a dynamic feel, with a twisting design and a large
notch cut out of its top.
     On the Puxi side of the Huangpu River is the Bund, a big draw for
tourists. This long embankment includes buildings with colonial-era
architecture and its wide walkway is a popular place for strolling along the
river.
     Since visitors can reach more than 110 cities within China by air
                                                                               (above) Haibao is the expo mascot. shaped like the Chinese character for person,
from Shanghai, it is a popular first stop for many guests when visiting the    the word translates as “treasure of the world.” (opposite page) at 492-metres tall,
country. Shanghai has not one, but two international airports that are used    the shanghai world Financial Centre is the tallest building in China, and the third
by more than 20 domestic and 50 international airlines.                        tallest in the world.




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                                     The city has invested some
                                     US$45 billion in infrastructure
                                     upgrades with mass transit,
                                     especially, being improved.

                                         The Shanghai Pudong International Airport is expected to reach a
                                     capacity of 60 million passengers by 2015 thanks to Terminal 2, which
                                     opened in March 2009. There’s also a Maglev train available for visitors to
                                     access the city from the airport. The other international airport, Hongqiao,
                                     is being expanded with work set to finish this year. Within Shanghai,
                                     transport is a breeze, with eight metro lines spanning 234 kilometres.
                                     Another five lines will get on track soon.
                                         During 2008 Shanghai logged some 6.4 million foreign arrivals,
                                     according to the China National Tourist Office. In 2009, 5.3 million
                                     overnight visitors came to Shanghai, an increase of 1.3% over the figures
                                     for 2008.
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(opposite top) an artist’s impression of the Chinese pavilion for expo. (opposite bottom) the theme for
singapore’s pavilion is “urban Harmony,” reflecting the city-state’s multicultural diversity and peacefulness.




     But Shanghai offers more than just good transportation links. Its culture, food and shopping
opportunities are legendary. All these attributes will be on display during the World Expo 2010.
This massive gathering, which will aim to embody the motto Better City, Better Life, will take place
between May 1 and October 31. Pundits predict that this may be the biggest expo of them all.
Around 200 pavilions from different countries will take visitors on mini-tours of distant and nearby
lands.
     “The World Expo is a great opportunity to showcase Shanghai as a good place for business,
sightseeing and hosting large-scale events,” Li Bincheng, director of international tourism promotion
for the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration, recently told the press. “The event is drawing a
lot of international attention and it’s a good chance to generate publicity for Shanghai.”
     The city has invested some US$45 billion in infrastructure upgrades, with mass transit,
especially, being improved. Some 193 countries and 49 international organisations are set to take
part in the festival, featuring some 20,000 performances. Tourism officials say they are expecting
a staggering 70 million travellers to flock to Shanghai during the festival, with perhaps 3.5 million
coming to visit the Expo site from overseas.
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(above) the Fisherman’s wharf promises to be a recreation strip that pays homage to the city’s aquatic lore and futuristic stylings.


                                                                                             Shanghai is also an attractive MICE destination. According to the
                                                                                        Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration, gatherings slated for 2010
                                                                                        in the city include the World Health Forum, the Seatrade All Asia Cruise
                                                                                        Convention and the Deep Water Asia Congress. In addition, a number

    Tourism officials say they are                                                      of science and technology gatherings will take place in Shanghai, such
                                                                                        as the 32nd International Conference on Coastal Engineering, the Ninth
expecting a staggering 70 million                                                       International Conference on Hydrodynamics and the 29th International

   travellers to flock to Shanghai
                                                                                        Conference on Thermoelectrics.
                                                                                             The Shanghai Exhibition Centre has spacious meeting rooms, banquet
 during the festival, with perhaps                                                      halls, and exhibition spaces. Other spaces include the Intex Shanghai,
                                                                                        the Shanghai International Convention Center, Shanghaimart and more.
    3.5 million coming to visit the                                                     Shanghai is also home to sporting events like the F1 Chinese Grand Prix
         Expo site from overseas.                                                       on April 18 and the Shanghai International Marathon. Festivals include the
                                                                                        China Shanghai International Arts Festival, held annually from October 18
                                                                                        to November 18, as well as the Shanghai Tourism Festival staged every
                                                                                        September.
                                                                                             Looking to the future, Shanghai tourism officials say that they will aim
     Various permanent structures have been erected to house events. In                 to market the city more aggressively both domestically and abroad. One
addition, the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration says it will offer              particular focus will be MICE: it’s clear that the city’s infrastructure and
11 theme tours to visitors. These include sports and culture; folklore;                 hotels cope with a continued influx of visitors in the wake of the World
historical architecture; countryside; MICE and more. There’s even one                   Expo 2010. Officials also say that they will focus upon markets in the
devoted to Sichuan’s Province’s rebound from the 2008 earthquake.                       region such as South Korea, Japan, and countries within ASEAN.
     Shanghai has ample lodging, to be sure, with over 60,000 hotel                          Moreover, advertising focusing upon Shanghai’s many attributes is on
rooms in the four and five star categories. International chains in the                 display in media outlets both within China and overseas. The Shanghai
city include Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Shangri-La, Hilton, Wyndham,                   Municipal Tourism Administration has begun a promotional effort
Starwood, Marriott, InterContinental and Accor. There are also many                     surrounding the Shanghai City Tour Card. The first of its kind in China,
hotel chains offering rooms in the budget class, such as Super 8 and                    the card may be used at shops, restaurants, bars and in transportation
Home Inns. Altogether, there are more than 100,000 rooms available in                   systems. It’s been designed to offer tourists an easy way to pay for goods
Shanghai, with tens of thousands more under construction.                               and services.
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AD

								
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