NEW YORK -- Germany's Expo 2000 World's Fair in Hannover is getting
off to a sluggish start, and so are ticket sales in the U.S.
Despite an earlier report of a good opening day, admissions
during the fair's first several days were averaging well under
100,000 people per day -- less than half the number needed to
achieve its goal of 40 million during the course of the event.
The Expo 2000 Hannover will run through October and showcases
pavilions and exhibits from nearly 190 countries and
At General Tours, the general sales agent in the U.S. for Expo,
ticket sales through June 9 numbered 4,000, according to Steve
Puettner, marketing director.
He said he believes it is "possible" that Expo organizers will
achieve their goal of attracting several hundred thousand
Americans, "but I do feel that a lot of people will just buy their
tickets at the gate."
"We'd prefer if they bought them directly through us," he said,
"but it's the type of event where lots of people will decide at the
last minute. If they're in that area, they may decide, 'We've got
an extra day, why don't we go to the world's fair?' "
He said General Tours has not had any requests from other tour
operators for blocks of tickets. "We've had some individual travel
agents contacting us if they have a group but nothing on a grand
However, Puettner noted that publicity about the Expo's opening
has started to stir some interest in the market.
"Now that the Expo has opened, we're starting to see some
demand," he said. "Our requests for brochures and information have
gone up dramatically since it opened."
He noted that General Tours has several itineraries this summer
that include visits to both the Expo and the Oberammergau Passion
Play, and those have been selling well.
In Germany, Expo managers remain fairly confident despite the
slow start, and they have resisted suggestions to reduce ticket
prices, which top out at around $42 for a full-day adult
"Please bear in mind that we don't expect bumper figures in
June," said a spokesman for the Expo. "Seville [the setting of the
1992 world's fair] only received 4.5% of all its visitors in the
first month, and we don't expect much more. So in many ways, these
figures are what we expected."
Tickets to the Expo are available in the U.S. from General Tours
and DER Travel.
Both firms also can assist agents with other travel arrangements
related to the Expo.
General Tours has a toll-free number for Expo inquiries at (800)
469-5186. DER is at (888) 337-7350.