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Expo passports in short supply at park

2010. 26 May

by Ni Dandan
( With sweat dripping from their brow, visitors were left empty-handed Monday after running around the Expo Park in search of an Expo passport, a popular souvenir that has for days been missing from many stores shelves inside the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

As the temperature hit a new high of 30 C inside the park, organizers promised that the shortage of supplies is being dealt with, and that visitors would be able to purchase the collector's item before the end of the week.

"I pretty much went to all the stores in the Pudong section of the park looking for one of the passports," Zhou Xiongzi, a visitor from Liaoning Province, told the Global Times Monday afternoon after arriving to the park in the morning. "I checked the stores near the African pavilions and the ones around the China Pavilion, but none of them had any in stock."

The store closest to the No.6 Gate was, however, lucky enough Monday morning to receive about 500 Expo passports, a keepsake that has motivated visitors to roam around the 5.28-square-kilometer park collecting Expo stamps from the pavilions they tour.

"We sold out all of them in like an hour - by 10 am we were had none left," an employee of the licensed souvenir store who declined to provide her name told the Global Times. "There were so many people crowding to buy them that we had to get our customers to line up outside the store."

Another store by the European Square was not as fortunate. It has not been able to respond to the overwhelming demand for the souvenir for the past four days.

"A batch of the passports was supposed to arrive around noon time today; I don't know if any logistic problem occurred," a store employee surnamed Xu who declined to disclose her full name told the Global Times Monday afternoon, adding that the store usually prepares an order in advance as it generally takes days to get new stock.

According to Lin Shengyong, director of commercial management for the Shanghai World Expo Coordination Bureau, manufacturers are to blame for the shortage in passports.

"More than 100,000 Expo passports were found with some of their pages stuck together," Lin was quoted in the Oriental Morning Post Monday. "That problem prevented them from going onto the shelves as scheduled."

Lin added that the bad products had been returned, and that organizers are waiting for new shipments.

For some visitors, their arrival at the park cannot be too soon.

"It seems like everyone has one so I feel left out of the fun without one," a visitor surnamed Wang from Beijing, who declined to provide his full name, told the Global Times Monday.