MILAN—Italians have spent 2.3 billion euros (USD2.5 billion) at the Milan world exposition, which 88 percent of them said was a positive experience, according to a survey presented Monday.
The survey, conducted by Italy’s largest association Coldiretti and polling institute Ixe, found that despite an average of two hours and 45 minutes spent waiting in queues, 35 percent of Italian respondents visited the food-themed Expo twice, 11 percent three times and 2 percent four times.
The Japan Pavilion appeared to be the favorite one, followed by the China Pavilion, while the Kazakhstan Pavilion placed third. The Arab Emirates and Israeli ones were also very much appreciated, the survey showed.
The biggest critiques were that the Expo was excessively virtual and there were not enough free areas in which to rest or relax.
According to the survey, 39 percent of Italian visitors were aged 34-54, followed by 28 percent under 34 years old and 33 percent over 55.
Presenting the survey at an Expo conference in the presence of Italian Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina and local authorities, Coldiretti president Roberto Moncalvo highlighted the Expo’s role in promoting the agri-food sector, agricultural development and genuineness of products.
On Sept. 15, Coldiretti, which is also the largest agricultural professional organization in Europe, celebrated Italian Agriculture Day, gathering as many as 30,000 small farmers from all over Italy.
The Italian expo, whose leading theme is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” will leave a unique legacy of values and ideals centered around the fundamental need of sustainable agriculture and food security in the world, Moncalvo told Xinhua in an interview on the sidelines of the conference.
He hoped such values would be at the core of important upcoming events at the international level such as the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
During the six-month Expo that will end on Saturday, China significantly contributed to spread these values, Moncalvo told Xinhua. The only country with three pavilions, of which one was national and two corporate, China was the biggest international investor at the Expo.
“China is a huge country with a strong agricultural tradition,” Moncalvo told Xinhua. He underlined that the world exposition was also a flywheel for collaboration opportunities between China and Italy in agriculture.
“For example, during the first two months of Expo, consumption of Made in Italy food in China has grown by more than 32 percent, according to Italian statistics,” he noted.
During Monday’s press conference, Expo Sole Commissioner of the Italian Government Giuseppe Sala said the world exposition was set to surpass 21 million visitors by its end, of which 6-7 million likely came from foreign countries.
According to official data released earlier this month, the Expo Milano 2015 has already topped the 20 million visitors mark.