Expo.02 - a spark of hope

Expo.02 could help the Swiss regain confidence in their country

Recent events in Switzerland have hit the country's confidence hard. The national exhibition Expo.02 could just be the right opportunity for Switzerland to prove its abilities.

This content was published on November 5, 2001 minutes

After the massacre in Zug, the collapse of Swissair and the inferno in the Gotthard tunnel, many Swiss are feeling rather depressed and lethargic.

According to a study by the university of Basel, one in four Swiss has some form of depression and the percentage of people suffering from slight depression has risen from eight per cent in 2000 to 16 per cent this year.

Expo manager Franz Steinegger also worries about the confidence the Swiss have in themselves and their country. "People are concerned. They sense the extraordinary and gloomy atmosphere in the country," he told swissinfo.

According to Steinegger, the project Expo.02 could change the mood in Switzerland as it could give the Swiss the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities to organise such a significant event.

"We need this big event in order to strengthen our team spirit and face up to the present and the future."

However, the last few weeks have also left a mark on the preparation for Expo.02. "We are faced with new difficulties, especially when it comes to financing the event," Steinegger said.

Sponsors invest in Swissair

In view of the sponsoring, Steinegger is concerned because institutions and organisations approached by Expo.02 have now been asked to salvage Switzerland's collapsed national airline, Swissair.

"Our sponsors have also been asked to invest money in the airline industry and they have their own financial problems," Steinegger laments.

Expo.02 is still looking for SFr140 million. However, finding such a sum could be difficult or even impossible.

Despite the financial worries Steinegger can also see a growing interest in the world exhibition as 225,000 tickets have already been sold. Major customers such as the supermarket chain Migros, ABB or Ernest & Young have already invested in tickets.

Expo.02 is hoping to sell tickets worth SFr1 billion ahead of the event.

Carole Gürtler and agencies

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