ASTANA – EXPO 2017 has only been open five of its 13 weeks, yet based on the early attendance figures Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) Deputy Secretary General Dimitri Kerkentzes believes the exhibition will rightfully be called a success.
An average of 22,800 guests a day visited the expo in its first week, according to its website, and the event has attracted 1,199,000 tourists from June 10-July 16, with Kazakhstan’s Nur Alem Sphere recording the leading attendance rate. The number of visitors through Sept. 10 should reach at least two million.
While Kerkentzes noted it is too early to draw any conclusions, the interim results and efforts of the organisers and government should yield brilliant results, he said in an interview with khabar.kz.
“Being a representative of the BIE, everything that was done for the exhibition by the government and organisers is a great success. Everyone tried to convey to the visitors the main idea – what humanity can count on when it comes to the energy of the future,” he said.
The current expo is distinguished from previous events by the extraordinary involvement of the participating countries, he added. Pavilions representing 115 nations are on display, some of which are celebrating their National Days.
High-ranking Spanish officials as well as Mazhilis members attended the opening ceremony of the country’s July 16 National Day. With Don Quixote, passionate flamencos and an open-air theatre, guests experienced genuine Spanish atmosphere in the expo town.
“We are very pleased to participate in the exhibition in Kazakhstan and contribute to the development of green energy in the world. Diplomatic relations between our countries have been established 25 years ago and I must say it is very fruitful, for which we express our gratitude to President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Participation in the exhibition is also a good chance for Spain to announce its developments,” said Spanish Congress of Deputies Chairperson Ana Pastor.
Korea’s National Day began July 18 with traditional hymns and flag raisings for the sponsoring and host countries. Visitors enjoyed performances by a Korean orchestra and team of professional Taekwondo fighters, who gave a spectacular presentation.
The day then segued into the K-Culture Party at Saryarka Cycle Track, with performances by famous South Korean bands B1A4, Highlight and AOA and Kazakhstan’s popular Ninety One and Black Dial.
The Solomon Islands and Greece marked their National Days July 21, with Kazakh Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Akylbek Kamaldinov and Greek Minister of Economy and Development Dimitri Papadimitriou taking part in the event. The festive programme, featuring cultural and entertainment activities, ended with a parade.
Meanwhile, foreign tourists keep arriving in the capital to become part of the big event.
“I decided to spend this summer in Kazakhstan, though I haven’t previously been here. Astana is a grandiose and energetic venue this year. As for the pavilions, Nur Alem Sphere is what impressed me the most. I liked the engineering and technical solution of the project,” said St. Petersburg University student Dmitry Nesterenko.
He added one of the reasons he came to the expo was the arrival of some of world’s most popular DJs, including Afrojack, Axwell and Steve Aoki. International stars are giving concerts on the expo stage, drawing thousands of local citizens and foreign guests.
“I think this is the best summer I have ever had in my life. I am a big fan of all three DJs and it was unbelievable to see them,” he said.
Legends of world football will be in the city Aug. 5-6 to participate in the EXPO 2017 Football Cup international tournament. The capital is set to welcome squads from Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia, its own country and the world team. Football fans will get a chance to see stars including Kevin Kuranyi, Dino Baggio, Marco Delvecchio, Nuno Maniche, Jari Litmanen, Hernan Crespo, Jean-Pierre Papin, Roman Shirokov, Valery Karpin and Aleksander Filimonov.
Nesterenko also invited Kazakh citizens to next year’s FIFA World Cup scheduled to take place in Russia.