The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Tourism & Aviation today announced The Bahamas’ aggressive participation in Expo Shanghai, a initiative that has tremendous potential to raise awareness of the country and win prospective travelers and business opportunities.

##Regional Participation##

CARICOM Member States and the CARICOM Secretariat were officially invited in March 2008, to participate in the World Exposition 2010, Shanghai, China. This six-month Expo will take place from May 1 to October 31. Hyacinth Winder-Pratt, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, said Expo Shanghai is an opportunity that cannot be missed because China is still estimated to offer 100 million travelers to the world by 2020. *“Along with other countries, The Bahamas will have a powerful presence at the expo during the six-month period,”* she said. *“The objectives of our participation are to create more awareness of our country, and as often as possible, to convert awareness of The Bahamas into Chinese travelers bound for The Islands Of The Bahamas”*.

It is estimated that 15 percent or 10 million of the 70 million Expo Shanghai visitors will pass through the Caribbean Pavilion where The Bahamas Booth will be located.

At the Press Conference today Eugene Newry, First Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pointed out that The Bahamas’ commitment to participate in the Expo was supported from the highest level of government. Additionally, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has accepted an invitation from China to attend the Expo, and intends to be in Shanghai on July 17, which will be observed as National/Honor Day for the Caribbean. On that day, there will be a special focus at the Expo on the culture of The Bahamas and other countries of the Caribbean Community.

*“The Bahamas intends to take full advantage, to place her best foot forward in this gathering of nations,”* Mr. Newry said. “*The Inter-ministerial Committee for the Expo 2010 Shanghai, China, headed by the Ministry of Finance and most ably complemented by both public and private sector agencies, has seen to it that The Bahamas’ participation in the expo will be worthy of the standing of the good people of our country as we travel halfway around the world.”*

##Bahamas Exhibition##

The Bahamas Booth includes all sectors of Bahamian society. It was designed to reflect the rich history of sea transportation of a past era when sailing sloops were the only means of transport connecting the scattered islands of The Bahamas chain; as such, the three main exhibition spaces have been designed in the shape of sailing sloops. Two of the rooms are separated by a central foyer and connected at the back by an open gallery. Flags overhead, in the vibrant colors of the tourism logo, represent sails. The booth is constructed at a diagonal angle, with a wide, open entrance to allow free flow of visitors. The exterior of the booth features a beachscape. A map of The Islands Of The Bahamas is displayed on the floor of the central foyer.

Exhibits will showcase the richness and variety of the Bahamas touristic experience; business and investment opportunities; sustainable development and the environment; the popular regatta sailing past time; the food ways, music and dance of the Bahamas, and a wide selection of authentically Bahamian made craft. Five eye-catching, 6 foot Junkanoo sculptures will also be on exhibit.

A specially designed kiosk will highlight the attractions of Atlantis and Baha Mar properties. Kerzner International and Baha Mar Resorts have contributed towards the Bahamas participation in Expo Shanghai. In addition, both properties will donate a 7-day hotel stay for the winners of a special Bahamas online competition to be launched in Shanghai.

Special exhibits highlight the services of the Bahamas Financial Services Board.