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Swiss keen to shine at Expo 2010 in Shanghai

2009. 29 April

( Interaction between rural and urban areas is the theme of the Swiss pavilion at the 2010 World Exhibition in the Chinese city of Shanghai.

The building features a chairlift which takes visitors to the grassy rooftop and a facade covered with solar-powered reflective cells, according to Swiss foreign ministry officials.

"We want to show that Switzerland has more to offer than Heidi, Barry dogs and mountains," said Johannes Matyassy of Presence Switzerland, a government-run promotion unit, in Bern on Wednesday.

He added Switzerland wanted to convey the image of quality of life and highlight Geneva as an international centre.

Construction work for the pavilion in Shanghai is scheduled to begin in June.

Officials said they expect at least 2.5 million visitors to the pavilion, nicknamed Nature's Playground. It is financed by contributions of the federal authorities and private sponsors to the tune of SFr23.3 million ($20.5 million).

"It is a very attractive site right on the Huangpu river. Although our budget is inferior to those of other countries Switzerland has always been able to rely on its creative spirit," said Manuel Salchli of Presence Switzerland.

Basel, Geneva and Zurich will stage a separate exhibition at Shanghai devoted to water and sustainable solutions.

Switzerland is one of nearly 190 countries taking part in the 2010 Expo due to open on May 1. The show with the theme, Better City, Better Life, is expected to attract a record number of 70 million visitors in six months.