ASTANA, Dec. 6 – Chairman of the Board of Astana EXPO 2017 company Talgat Ermegiyaev reported on the preparations for the exhibition and summarised the achievements of the year during a press conference held on Dec. 5 at the Rixos President Hotel in Astana.
Ten departments responsible for preparing for EXPO 2017 have been created within the company this year. A department for infrastructure development and the construction of EXPO 2017 facilities is now operating within the Astana EXPO 2017 company being created on the bases of the former Directorate on the preparation and holding of the International specialized exhibition EXPO 2017 JSC. Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Industry and New Technologies is responsible for developing renewable energy resources, attracting investment and developing tourism.
“A working group on developing foreign participation has been created to improve the image of Kazakhstan, develop the tourism sphere, attract local and foreign exhibitors and visitors and then continue working with them during their stay in Kazakhstan,” said First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and EXPO 2017 Commissioner Rapil Zhoshybayev.
Zhoshybayev has visited a number of countries as part of his mission as commissioner of EXPO 2017, including Austria, China, Germany, Italy, Latvia, South Korea, France and the U.K., where he held preliminary talks on the exhibition.
During the press conference, Ermegiyaev stressed that construction work on EXPO 2017 facilities will begin next spring. Of the greatest interest, of course, will be the Sphere, a unique building to be constructed in the middle of EXPO City as the symbol of the exhibition. The building, which will be 24,000 square metres, will be built over the next three years.
“We understand the responsibility, as EXPO 2017 is a national-scale event. In this case, the active participation of the citizens of Kazakhstan is the key to its success. From our side, we will do everything possible to present EXPO 2017 to the world at the highest level,” said Ermegiyaev.
According to Ermegiyaev, next year will be crucial. Astana EXPO 2017 is going to start negotiations on the registration dossier, as some notes and comments for improvement may be submitted.
“After the registration dossier is approved, probably in June of next year, we will get the official flag of EXPO 2017 and can start a public relations campaign to attract participating countries and corporate participants,” explained Ermegiyaev.
EXPO 2017 organisers are planning to expand the capacity of Astana’s airport, build a new railway station and introduce new, high-speed public transport in the capital, as many foreign visitors are expected to come for the event.
During the press conference, Ermagiyaev also assured listeners that the project would be profitable for the country.
“We are currently working with several companies that will count, over the next two months, the economic benefits EXPO 2017 could bring to Kazakhstan. It is expected that the 283 million euros that we will spend on operating expenses will be fully covered by the profit we will receive,” said Ermegiyaev.
It is planned to construct a green EXPO village in Astana. According to preliminary estimates, the project will cost US$370 million. EXPO City is planned to be located in the Yessil district of the capital, between Kabanbay Batyr, Hussein bin Talal, Orynbor and Ryskulov streets.
“My proposal is to let around 30-40 percent of the volume of construction work be carried out by an international company. This applies to … the Sphere and the international pavilions, where new technologies will be applied,” Ermegiyaev said.
The Astana EXPO 2017 company was established in January this year. Currently, the company employs more than 60 people and is now planning to increase its staff. During the year, the exhibition concept and plan have been presented at various international conferences, forums and tourism fairs.