Record visitors for South African Pavilion at Aichi, Japan

The South African pavilion at the World Expo 2005 has clocked visitors in excess of 2.5 million so far. This means South Africa could double its initial objective of 1.5million visitors by close of Expo 2005, a figure which was based on 10% of the total number of the 15 million estimated.

As the curtain gradually closes on Expo 2005 in Japan, the numbers of visitors to the Expo site are swelling. From an estimated 15 million visitors, a record 18.2 million people have been counted.

Shoichiro Toyoda Chairman Japan Association for the 2005 World Exposition in a press statement attributed the growing numbers to the attractive and distinctive exhibits and events that official and domestic participants have presented along the theme of ,ÄúNature,Äôs Wisdom,Äù.

,ÄúVisitors appreciate the ongoing improvements made by the association made to ensure a safe and comfortable exposition,Äù, the statement read.

The pavilion has witnessed one of its busiest moments since the opening of the exhibitions last March. Last Saturday close to 81 000 visitors were counted. The interest is attributed mainly on the exhibits, texts and audio visual material on show. Much interest is on the Coelacanth, a fossilized fish dating back more than 400 million years.

South Africa,Äôs staging of the 2010 World Cup is also drawing much attention as visitors seem eager to be in South Africa at the time. Enquiries on the country,Äôs weather and its tourist attractions and destinations are listed daily.

Recently the Deputy Minister of Minerals and Energy Lulu Xingwana was guest as the theme at the pavilion is Minerals and Energy. The Ambassador to Japan Dr Ben Ngubane joined her for a visit to Corporate Pavilions such as Toyota, Japan Rails and NEDO.

On Tuesday, 06 September was Angola National Day. The Prime Minister of Angola Eduardo Dos Santos made a courtesy visit to the South Africa Pavilion after events that marked his country,Äôs national day here at the Expo Site.

In less than three weeks one of the biggest in the world events calendar is causing locals to rush in order to catch up on the many events on offer. People from all walks of life are making Expo 2005 a feature in their calendars. The elderly, the young, the physically challenged are some of the multitudes visiting.

If you find pushing a patient on a hospital bed absurd, Expo 2005 site would prove otherwise. The blind, the tiniest babies or anyone with a physical challenge can be seen here. Anyone would be awed by the enthusiasm and eagerness to learn by daily visitors.

The numbers released today by the Expo association indicate more than 167 000 people have gone through the Expo gates since morning. South Africa also enjoys popularity among the locals who daily converge on the Africa Pavilion Common stage eagerly waiting for entertainment.

Currently a Setswana Cultural group Mosekaphofu from Mafikeng is performing. Their versatility and skill and ability to perform different genres draws like magnet. The group will perform until Saturday.

More cultural acts will arrive at Expo to share South Africa,Äôs rich heritage with the people of Japan. Already, there are requests for DVD,Äôs and CD,Äôs of performing groups be they professional or amateur. This then poses a challenge to South Africans to fiercely market their music in other countries where a different sound would be most welcome and appreciated.

Tshepo Makhene
Daisy Tsengiwe
Tel: 0981 561 64 7195

Issued by: South African Pavilion, Aichi Expo
09 September 2005

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