In less than two months, two million visitors have passed through the Pacific Pavilion at the World Expo currently underway in Shanghai surpassing the estimated number.
Pacific Pavilion Director Bernadette Rounds Ganilau told Fijilive from Shanghai they are very proud of this achievement as many other pavilions have not reached even a million as yet due to controlled method of entry.
“We have a free flow style where people can wander around and enjoy the islands’ exhibitory and entertainment,” she said.
“Some people prefer to sit and enjoy the ambience which we love to see especially the older people and families with little children.”
Ganilau said they welcomed their two-millionth visitor on June 24, 73-year-old Li Mei Xian who became a ‘little ball of energy’ after hearing she was a winner.
“She was led to the central Pavilion stage and crowned after being announced the winning visitor,” she said.
“Receiving gifts from all the pacific booths, Xian said although she had been to Australia, she has never heard of some of the island names in the Pavilion but was looking forward to knowing more after her win.”
Ganilau highlighted negotiations are underway for a return trip for two to the Pacific for the three-millionth visitor.
“A significant number as six million is the goal the Pavilion us aiming to achieve in visitor numbers. Titled ‘Half Way Home’, an announcement will be made this week in the prize and the generous airline,” she indicated.
Speaking on the Pacific Pavilion itself, Ganilau stressed there is always something to photograph in the Pacific Pavilion.
“Whether it is under the banyan tree with a big carved wooden pig in Vanuatu, or the four-meter elaborately carved crocodile in Papua New Guinea or the ha’amonga in Tonga or the Tahitian dancers.”
“There is a surprise as you turn every corner and the Chinese visitors love the surprises they get at the Pacific Pavilion,” she said.
Ganilau said the visitors are welcomed daily with a song written by Iglese Ete and his wife called ‘People if the Sea’ and both the volunteer Chinese staff and the Pacific staff have a combined choir.
“We have a low-tech pavilion which is refreshing as almost all other Pavilions have high-tech. We also have a retail outlet and entertainment daily.”