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Expo ticket stampede begins

Zhang Jiazhen, 67, shows off the eight Expo tickets she bought at a China Telecom store in Shanghai.

The tickets for the first three days of visits to the Shanghai World Expo are either sold out or in short supply.

 

Yesterday marked the first day that selling began to the public around the world via the four main Expo ticket agents in China and the rush came. More than 40,000 tickets were sold during the day.

 

Tickets for the first three days (May 1-3) and the National Day (October 1-7) holidays, known as peak-day tickets, were sold out at China Post, an operator on its hotline said.

 

The Bank of Communications has begun to set daily limits on the number of peak-day tickets to be sold, its hotline said.

 

China Telecom and China Mobile said people wanting peak-day tickets should act right now or face disappointment.

 

The peak-day tickets were in hot demand, said Zhang Haodong, an official of the Ticketing Center of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.

 

Long queues formed at most of the selling outlets in Shanghai. A 72-year-old man waited in front of a local post office from 3am to buy four peak-day tickets.

 

The organizer expects 17 days, including the last week of Expo (October 25 to 31) to attract the most visitors.

 

A standard single-day ticket costs 140 yuan (US$20.49), and a peak-day ticket costs 180 yuan until September 31, end of the second sales phase.

 

The organizer may issue more peak-day tickets to the public, according to Zhang, who urged people to buy these tickets "as early as possible."

 

The organizer planned to sell 62 million Expo tickets, including just 600,000 for the peak period, said Chen Zhuofu, director of the ticketing center of the bureau.

 

Zhang said the organizer had reserved some peak-day tickets to sell during Expo.

 

Before then, the public is able to buy tickets at more than 2,800 outlets of the four agents. The agents have opened hotlines, Websites and extra outlets.

 

Those outside the mainland can buy tickets from nine agencies around the world, including the United States-based Ticketmaster and Peregrine Travel Group, and Tianbao Travel Ltd in Canada.

 

More details about how to buy tickets are on www.shanghaidaily.com.

 

(Shanghai Daily July 2, 2009)