The head of France’s bid to host the 2025 World Expo held talks with Sri Lankan leaders in a bid to secure their support.
Pascal Lamy told reporters in the capital Colombo that France expects to spend 3.5bn euro ($4.22bn) on hosting the Expo in Paris, and the money will be generated by the project itself without public funding.
Paris is bidding to host the Expo a year after staging the 2024 Summer Olympics, and Lamy said he was confident of securing international support for France’s environmentally-sustainable proposal.
Lamy, a former director general of the World Trade Organisation, is visiting countries in the Asia-Pacific region to win support for the Paris bid.
If the bid is successful, France will host the event for the first time in 125 years. It last hosted the exhibition in Paris in 1900.
There was no immediate comment from Sri Lankan authorities.
He said France faces strong competition from Japan, Russia and Azerbaijan for the 2025 event.
France is offering countries the chance to use the Paris Expo facilities beyond the exhibition.
“Countries may convert their pavilions and remain at Paris-Saclay to receive students or innovative businesses from their country in order to contribute to the area’s intellectual and entrepreneurial vibrancy,” the French delegation said in a statement.
The Paris bid, initiated during the tenure of president Francois Hollande, has been “enthusiastically embraced” by his successor Emmanuel Macron, Lamy said.
Around 40mn people are expected to visit the 2025 Expo over a six-month period.
France is ready to host an event of that scale, Lamy said, as the country is expected to welcome 100mn tourists annually by 2020.
Delegates from 170 member states of the Paris-based Bureau of International Exhibitions will vote on the bids in November.
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