The past few months have been an extremely busy travel season for me. I’ve been to New York, Geneva, Jakarta, Singapore, Philadelphia, Orlando, St. Louis, Luxembourg, Dubai …
Well, you get the idea.
I finished my last major trip with a stop in China, where I had the opportunity to host a media roundtable and speak at the China Civil Aviation Development Forum.
A Kodak moment at the civil aviation forum in Beijing. The ladies were from the Ordos region of Inner Mongolia where authorities are trying to attract investment to develop aviation infrastructure.
After my Beijing stop I got to “travel” around the world in an afternoon. By that I mean I visited Expo 2010 in Shanghai. It runs through October 31 and is intended to promote the exchange between different cultures and countries.
It’s the first time I’ve visited a world’s fair since Expo ‘74.
Boeing has a pretty cool exhibit inside the USA Pavilion at the Shanghai show. A staggering 70 million people are expected to attend the expo, and we think a good fraction of those will pass by the Boeing display.
The lines were fairly long to get into the USA pavilion.
As a sponsor of the pavilion, Boeing has display space at the “Discover America” theme area. The Boeing story is about partnership, the connection between China and the U.S., and history, as told through technology, innovation and sustainability.
The centerpiece is something we’re calling the Boeing Dreamscape, an interactive wall featuring images and other content uploaded from BoeingDreamscape.com.
Interacting with the Boeing Dreamscape wall.
We launched the website together with the Dreamscape wall so that people from China and around the world can share travel and cultural experiences with pictures and short messages.
I did. I submitted 2 photos of my own.
One great feature of our exhibit highlights Wong Tsoo, who was Boeing’s first chief engineer. He helped design the Model C training seaplane which went on to become Boeing’s first financial success.
The China Pavilion - understandably, a very popular exhibit.
During my visit to the expo, my Boeing colleague, Olive Wang, and I actually managed to walk the entire length of the grounds and back - a journey of about 4 hours.
Starting with the USA Pavilion at the far end of the grounds, we journeyed “east” through Canada, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and finally Asia.
At the Porterhouse Irish Pub. Yes, an Irish Pub in Shanghai! Great food and a traditional Irish dance demonstration.
Before returning back to the USA Pavilion, we made a quick visit to the North Korean Pavilion, which interestingly was titled “Paradise for People.”
Sound intriguing? Well, if you may be considering a trip to Expo 2010 this summer, here’s my advice:
- Wear comfortable shoes - the grounds are huge.
- Bring your patience with you - lines are very long at many of the pavilions.
- Buy a ceremonial passport - you can get it stamped at each country’s exhibit. People were very much into collecting the stamps.
- Visit the small, less traveled, exhibits. Lines were shorter and the displays are fascinating. (We went into the Pavilions for Afghanistan, Bahrain, Jordan, Vietnam, North Korea, Denmark, and Cambodia without any waiting).
- If you need directions, ask a “green cabbage.” These guides are dressed in light green track suits, speak several languages and give perfect directions.
- Visit the USA Pavilion and the Boeing Dreamscape and be sure to upload your photos and messages before you go.
Evening views - USA Pavilion (top) and our view from the Denmark pavilion.
Finally, the marketer in me has to point out that China is not only a long-time partner (nearly 40 years) and one of Boeing’s largest customers, but it’s a fast growing aviation market that will require thousands of new airplanes worth more than $400 billion over the next couple of decades.
So, needless to say it’s a thrill for us as a company to take part in Expo 2010.
Safe journeys to you wherever you may go as we enter the busy summer travel season!