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Roth appointed Expo.02 ambassador

Jean-Francois Roth (left) with Pascal Couchepin Keystone

Jean-Francois Roth, canton Jura's economics minister, has been appointed ambassador for Switzerland's national exhibition.

The Swiss economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, formally announced Roth’s appointment at a special ceremony in Neuchatel, one year to the day before the opening of Expo.02.

As ambassador, Roth will be expected to promote the national exhibition in Switzerland. He will be backed up by an “ambassadors’ club” made up of personalities from the worlds of culture, finance, science, sport and show business.

Roth’s appointment comes just 24 hours after the management of Expo.02 launched a publicity campaign to drum up support for the event.

Television advertising spots, brochures and a touring information centre are strategies being used to increase public interest in the one-off event, which has been beset by problems since its conception.

Forty-second advertising spots are being shown on all Swiss Broadcasting Corporation stations and in 90 cinemas around the country. The theme will be “Now or never”, with the exhibition portrayed as the event of a lifetime.

A 20-metre long Expo.02 mobile pavilion will also be touring the country, giving the public a taste of what they can expect when the doors finally open next May.

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.

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.

Recent polls have shown a drop in public interest in the event, which is being subsidised by the government.

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