Shanghai World Expo organisers visit Liverpool

Chinese planners of the next World Expo, to be held in Shanghai in 2010, will interrupt a visit to London on Friday to visit Liverpool, the only UK city outside the capital to have a presence at the event.

Professor Wu Zhiqiang, chief planner of the Expo site, and Professor Tang Zilai, chief planner of the Urban Best Practices Area, where Liverpool's exhibition suite will be based, will outline the opportunities presented by the Expo, as well as detailing the progress of preparations.

The Chinese delegation will visit the city's waterfront attractions, including the Pier Head, Albert Dock and the Arena & Convention Centre Liverpool, as well as the commercial district before a reception at the Town Hall, when they will meet civic dignitaries and business leaders.

The team has been in London to discuss the Expo and celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Liverpool is twinned with Shanghai but has so far failed to capitalise on the link. Its presence at World Expo 2010 should help enormously, with more than 100 cities around the world showcasing the best they have to offer to an estimated 70 million visitors, global industrialists and world leaders.

Phil Southward, project director of Liverpool's presence at the Expo, said: "This [visit] shows the commitment to the Liverpool exhibition and the importance of our presence next year.

"They want a first-hand understanding of how the city's regeneration programme has successfully incorporated the old with the new, while letting us know what we can expect in Shanghai.

"This is a significant visit, not least because the delegation has broken into their itinerary in London, but also because we can demonstrate our excitement and show them the Liverpool story and the city's on-going transformation."

The 2010 event will be staged at a massive new site in Shanghai and is scheduled to run from May to October. World Expo is held every five years.

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