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2012/05/12 14:55 KST
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(LEAD) Yeosu Expo officially kicks off 93-day-long journey

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details from para 7)
YEOSU, South Korea, May 12 (Yonhap) -- The 93-day-long Yeosu Expo officially got underway Saturday to highlight the important role the ocean and coast play in everyday lives and the need to live in harmony with the world's marine environment.

   The international exposition held under the theme of "Living Ocean and Coast" with emphasis placed on pursuing sustainable resources development, preservation and creative maritime activities is expected to attract countless numbers of visitors from all over the world.

   Organizers said the fair held in the southern port city of Yeosu 455 kilometers south of Seoul has attracted the participation of 104 countries, 10 international organizations and numerous companies.

   The United States, China, Japan and many countries in Europe, the Middle East and Oceania have opened pavilions along with United Nations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

   The exposition that runs through Aug. 12 will showcase the significance of the earth's marine environment and touch on global issues such as global warming, resource depletion and the need to preserve critical natural resources for future generations.

   Various seminars have been planned to touch on such themes during the fair, as well as giving ordinary visitors of all ages a hands-on experience that is both informative and entertaining.

   Visitors who come to the exposition will be invited to sign their names in support of the "Yeosu Declaration" calling for heightened awareness of the importance of the marine environment and the need for international cooperation to preserve it for posterity. Support can also be given on-line, with the declaration to be kept as a permanent heritage of the fair.

   Expo officials said there are four main landmark structures at the 250,000-square meter site including the 67-meter-tall Sky Tower, built from an old silo, South Korea's largest aquarium with a 6,030 ton fish tank, the "Big O" floating entertainment structure, and Expo Digital Gallery (EDG). The EDG, located in the center of the fairgrounds, is a semi-enclosed walkway with a three-dimensional holographic image and sound system and an interactive contents LED screen measuring 218.24 meters long and 30.72 meters wide.

   In addition, South Korea's main pavilion has a 30-meter dome screen that projects moving images of the ocean environment for visitors.

   Besides such structures, South Korea's leading conglomerates such as Hyundai Motor Group, Samsung Group, SK Telecom, and LG have all opened respective pavilions.

   Organizers said the fairgrounds, located on the country's southern shore, have numerous amenities such as a duty-free shopping arcade for visitors, and can be reached by road, air and sea.

   As part of its effort to attract foreign visitors, the Yeosu Expo will hold live concerts starring many popular K-Pop bands every Saturday.

   Ferry services have been arranged to link Yeosu with South Korea's resort island of Jeju, while train services are in place linking Yeosu with large urban centers like Seoul and Busan. The country's railroad operator will give discounts to people going to the exposition.

   The fair will open every day at 9 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. with tickets priced between 19,000 won to 33,000 won (US$16.6-28.7) for regular daily visitors.

   Exposition organizers, meanwhile, expected the fair to trigger industrial and service production of around 12 trillion won and help create 80,000 related jobs. It could help draw attention to South Korea's scenic southern shores, which could help local tourism down the line.

   The Yeosu Expo is the first Paris-based Bureau of International Exhibitions (BIE) approved event hosted by South Korea since the 1993 Daejeon Expo.