BEIJING - Visitors to the upcoming Shanghai World Expo should expect a "surpising" show as China's economic hub, Shanghai, is gearing up its final preparations for the world-class event, an organizing official said here Monday.
Wan Jifei, executive director of the Shanghai World Expo Executive Committee, made the remarks at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, China's top political advisory body.
Wan, also member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee, said the opening ceremony of the Shanghai World Expo, slated for May 1, would be staged on the Huangpu River, which will be dotted with fireworks show and laser performance.
"Though it can't be compared to the scale of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in 2008," Wan said, "I believe it will give us excitement."
Wan refused to provide further details of the ceremony but said other exhibits at the Expo would also surprise viewers.
According to statistics from the organizing committee, 192 countries and 52 international organizations have confirmed their participation in the global exhibition that traditionally showcases the latest worldwide advances in architecture, engineering and technolgies.
Offering the largest-ever exhibiting area of 5.28 square kilometers in the World Expo history, the Shanghai Expo is expecting a record 70 million visitors from home and abroad during the exhibition period from May 1 to October 31.
To smooth foreigners' visits to the Shanghai Expo, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has notified the country's embassies and consulates to adopt an easy visa policy during the Expo period.
Wan said a total of 550,000 hotel beds would be available inside Shanghai and extra Expo visitors to the metropolis would be found accomodations in hotels in nearby cities.
Wan said trial operation activities are to be held at the end of April to check up exhibition pavilions, security and volunteer arrangements, visitor services and logistics for the Expo.