'Paradise City' Gets Ready for 2002 Expo

West Lake, a unique natural feature of Hangzhou, the capital city of East China's Zhejiang Province, has become a selling point for the province to get better known by the rest of the world.

The provincial government, with support from 11 State departments and groups, such as the State Tourism Administration and the Ministry of Science and Technology, will hold the West Lake Expo 2002 from October 20 to November 10.

Wang Guoping, secretary of the Hangzhou Municipal Communist Party Committee, handed out the expo invitations in Beijing yesterday.

The reputation of the lake among tourists has created significant economic benefits for the city over the past two years.

The first West Lake Expo was held 73 years ago and was a huge success. Since its revival in 2000, the second and third expos have attracted 118 million visitors, allowed the signing of business contracts amounting to 14.1 billion yuan (US$1.7 billion) and generated investment totalling US$4.01 billion.

Featuring a grand opening ceremony, distinctive exhibitions, high-level forums attended by renowned experts, fireworks and of course a beautiful landscape, the West Lake Expo has become an opportunity for tourism, the exchange of ideas and business deals.

A total of 19 exhibitions - mainly involving stamps, fashions, tea and vehicles - will be held during the event, in addition to numerous trade and investment talks, according to Hangzhou Mayor Mao Linsheng.

There will also be 15 high-level conferences, such as the 10th International Symposium on Cable TV Technology and the 2002 International Asia-Pacific Conference on Environmental Remote Sensing.

Dozens of galas, examples of culture and tourism promotional activities will be held to showcase Hangzhou, which was known as "the most beautiful and magnificent paradise city in the world" in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). It has more recently received the United Nations Habitat Scroll of Honour Award.

The Silk Fashion Festival, the Zhejiang Cultural Relics Show and sporting activities, including a marathon, will also be offered.

About 30 tourist routes have been designed for expo visitors.

( China Daily August 29, 2002)

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