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172 groups confirm attendance at 2010 World Expo

One hundred and seventy-two countries and international organizations have confirmed their attendance at World Expo 2010, three months earlier than scheduled, city officials announced yesterday.

They also said the city government plans interactive activities between local communities and Expo participants. Overall, China hopes to draw 200 countries and organizations to the fair - a target expected to be reached next year, two years ahead of the event, they said.

So far, 153 countries and 19 international organizations - including the United Nations - have accepted China’s invitation since March 2006. Among them, Ukraine, Hungary and Switzerland have signed participation contracts with the Bureau of the Shanghai World Expo Coordination. The contracts contain detailed information such as the pavilion scale, activities and exhibition arrangements. China expects to draw 70 million visitors - the biggest number in World Expo’s history - to the fair from May 1 to October 31 in 2010.

During the period, Shanghai will encourage its 212 sub-districts and towns to invite foreign Expo participants to enter local communities. This will allow foreigners to experience traditional food, folk games and a homely atmosphere. (english.eastday)