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China stands out at Expo Milano

Updated: May 13,2015 10:02 AM     Xinhua

MILAN — China stands out not only for its three pavilions, one national and two corporate at the world exposition in Milan, but also for the special attention paid by the Italian event to the Asian country.

When international visitors arrive in Milan Malpensa, one cannot fail to notice the “Chinese-friendly” spirit of the airport, which has equipped with Chinese signage and Mandarin-speaking staff.

Earlier this year, the managing company of Milan Malpensa was conferred the 2015 Gold Award for Service Quality of CTW Chinese Tourist Welcome Award, the most important quality sign for the international Chinese outbound market.

Both the Malpensa airport and the Italian State railway have launched a website in Chinese and have trained their personnel to understand China’s culture with the goal to make Chinese passengers feel at home, starting from food.

For example, while traveling on an Italian State railway train, it is possible to taste dishes of China’s culinary tradition. Meanwhile, various top-level restaurants in the Milan city center have introduced a Chinese menu to welcome some one million Chinese tourists expected during the Expo.

The Expo Milano 2015, which runs from May 1 to Oct 31, is dedicated to global food issues. Yu Peijian, a student at Milan Polytechnic University, is one of the Chinese volunteers who help visitors at the Expo site, around one million square meters northwest of Milan.

“I provide general information about the site and events taking place at the pavilions,” Yu told Xinhua. He said a majority of Chinese volunteers are Chinese students living in Milan, but there are also a few who came from China to take part in the program.

Among the China-related initiatives launched at the Italian Expo, there is a “dictionary of nutrition in three languages, Italian, Chinese and English,” Alessandra Lavagnino, co-director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Milan, told Xinhua.

The project, she said, was launched by the University of Milan’s language and culture department with the support of Confucius Institute, and was carried out thanks to a close collaboration between professors and students which started soon after the end of the Shanghai Expo 2010.

The dictionary will be officially presented at the Expo Milano 2015 in the coming days. “We believe it will be a very useful instrument both for the food sector operators as well as the Expo’s visitors,” Lavagnino said.

The China Pavilion, which covers an area of 4,590 square meters, with the China Corporate United Pavilion and the Vanke Pavilion, which cover 1,200 square meters and 900 square meters respectively, make China the country with the largest exhibition scale at the Expo.

“China is a fantastic country,” Marco Balich, creative director of the Italian Pavilion, told Xinhua. “For me, China is the future and I believe that Italy and China must talk to each other not only thinking back to Marco Polo but also to all future collaborations,” he said.

Balich, who has directed worldwide shows and is the executive producer of the 2016 Olympic Games ceremonies in Rio de Janeiro, said: “China has a lot to give in terms of culture and Italy is proud of so many Chinese citizens coming to visit the Milan Expo.”