Over 20 million to visit Milan Expo, Sala says

World's fair has attracted 58 heads of State, government

(ANSA) - Rome, October 9 - The Milan Expo 2015 world's fair will attract 20 million visitors overall, and could even exceed that number, Expo Commissioner Giuseppe Sala has said.
    ''It's been an extraordinary year for our city and our country'', Sala said Thursday, addressing the 100th roundtable event at the food-themed Universal Exposition, sponsored by the Milan Chamber of commerce.
    Organizers have said that 13-14 million out of the 20 million are Italian, meaning that one Italian in four will have visited the six-month world's fair when it wraps up on October 31.
    Sala also said that the event created ''something magical'' because it ''made us understand how this barrier - public and private - has to be torn down because clearly the government can't do something like this on its own''.
    He added that success ''comes from a combination of single contributions'', discussing post-Expo management.
    Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina said this week that it is ''crucial'' for the government to be part of the enterprise that will oversee the development of the large area where Expo is currently taking place after it ends.
    To date, discussion has focused on turning the area into a university campus for innovation and research, with a specific focus on the farm and food sector in keeping with the theme of Expo, 'Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life'.
    Meanwhile on Thursday Expo President Diana Bracco noted that ''even cold numbers say we hit the target,'' with the influx of tourists and spending by foreign visitors testifying ''to the beneficial effect'' of the world's fair.
    Overall, some 58 heads of state and of government have visited Expo since its opening in May, general manager of participants division Stefano Gatti said this week.
    The number will have reportedly topped 60 by the end of this month.
    Some 300 institutional visits have taken place at the Universal Exposition, with a number of visitors returning a second time, including Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, Queen of Spain, who will be back on October 16.
    She first visited in July.
    Queen Letizia is a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) special ambassador for nutrition.
    And on Friday Expo visitors will be celebrating World Egg Day with exhibits, displays, games and entertainment to be held in front of the 'No Farmers No Party' pavilion of farmers' association Coldiretti.
    Coldiretti is promoting the initiative with Assoavi, which represents the Italian egg production chain.
    World Egg Day was introduced at the 1996 International Egg Conference in Vienna and is celebrated on the second Friday of October each year with worldwide events.
   

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