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Expo.02 slashes spending costs

One of Expo.02's lakeside facilities being built in Neuchatel Keystone

Expo.02, Switzerland's national exhibition, has announced cost cuts of up to SFr40 million, with various planned events and exhibits being put on hold, reduced in scale or axed altogether.

The Expo.02 committee formally stated its support of the cuts proposed by Nelly Wenger, the general director, on Tuesday.

“We’ve reached the limits of the possible cost cuts,” said Wenger. “More cuts would threaten the balance of the cultural offerings.”

Organisers have said the measures would reduce Expo.02’s over-expenditure from SFr72 million to SFr32 million, and represented 2 per cent of the total SFr1.4 billion budget.

One of Expo’s major exhibits, the lakeside installation in Murten, has been axed, while another in Neuchatel has been put on hold pending fresh sponsorship deals.

Projects such as a nightclub in Biel dedicated to the latest music, fashion and design will only get the go ahead if sponsors willing to foot 100 per cent of the costs are found.

Other planned activities, such as street artists around the Expo.02 venues, will be also reduced. Facilities like children’s crèches, extra parking and VIP suites will also be scaled down, along with lighting and cleaning costs.

Budgets for advertising and PR campaigns will also be cut back.

Organisers hope to attract around 4.8 million people to the 159-day exhibition, which will take place around the lakes of Neuchatel, Biel and Murten. However, some SFr125 million in sponsorship deals still needs to be pledged for the event.

The exhibition, which is scheduled to run until October 20, was originally due to open this year but was put back following financial and organisational problems.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR