[from the official Shanghai Expo website]
It’s been a roller coaster ride for the Shanghai Expo in terms of attendance so far. While the state media has been dutifully trumpeting the amazing ticket sales (apparently 33 million tickets have been sold, that’s almost half the target of 70 million!), all that hasn’t quite translated into real attendance yet. As you can see in the graph above which we found on the Shanghai Expo website, attendance has been mostly below 200,000, and on May 5, less than 100,000 visitors entered the Expo grounds.
Just how many visitors does the Expo need on site daily to hit its 70 million target? Global Times has done all the math for us — 380,000, or almost twice as many as we saw on opening day.
And how much money will the government stand to lose if the people don’t come? Over at the China Economic Review, Malcolm Moore extrapolates current attendance figures and based on an estimated two thirds paying customers, comes up with a potential 4 billion yuan shortfall — a figure we have to respectfully disagree with because he doesn’t take into account ticket buyers who eventually don’t show up.
There’s no doubt that Expo organisers will be able to sell 70 million tickets, or more if they so wished. Word on the street is that state-owned enterprises may be “encouraged” to pick up the slack — but getting all those ticket holders to show up? That will require more than just a bit of magic.