Visit while the sun shines

Expo organizers yesterday said they are looking at initiatives, such as new performances, to attract more visitors for the remainder of the National Day holiday and in the days immediately afterwards.

This latest effort, which follows relaxed ticket policies - allowing holders of standard tickets to upgrade to peak-day tickets - came after fewer visitors than expected were seen over the first days of the National Day holiday.

Organizers are now concerned that many standard ticket holders will try to visit on the same days later in the month, leading to overcrowding.

"We hope that visitors will take the opportunity to come along during the current sunny weather," said Chen Xianjin, deputy director of the Shanghai Expo Coordination Bureau.

New attractions include the second phase of the high-tech Expo music fountain.

Inside the site, pavilions are also gearing up for the final stage of the Expo, which closes at the end of the month.

Chen said on average more than 360,000 visitors came to the Expo daily in the past five days of the holiday, which is fewer than the 450,000 estimated.

And the numbers are also lower than those for the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival, which saw 400,000 visitors a day.

Organizers are also encouraging individual visitors, as there are fewer tour groups now. Many tour groups came from the provinces and will have returned home to prepare for work before the end of the holiday.

As the final week of the Expo is limited to peak-day ticket holders, people with standard tickets have until October 24 to visit. Organizers expect the highest numbers over the weekends of October 16-17 and 23-24.

The relaxed ticket policies, which were introduced to ease overcrowding, were welcomed by visitors, officials said.

More than 330,000 standard ticket have been upgraded to peak-day tickets.

Expo had recorded more than 59 million visitors by yesterday, while 65 million tickets have been sold. Expo organizers earlier said about 18 million standard tickets had yet to be used by the end of August. The number is much lower now, officials said.