O U N D A T I O N   E X P O  ' 8 8
Progressing the World Expo '88 Vision
- A non-government not-for-profit entity celebrating Brisbane's World Expo '88 -

Return to Table of Contents

Founder and Foundation Executive Director - John R McGregor

Visitas VIP - The Corporate Visitors Program - SOGEXPO
Universal Exposition of Seville 1992

Your Guide - John McGregor

The Corporate Visitors Program of the Universal Exposition of Seville was an entity of the Seville Universal Exposition Authority, under the direction of the Exposition's Corporate Management body SOGEXPO (Sociedad de Gestión de la Expo), and catered for VIP Visitors to the Exposition, at a surcharge to standard admission costs. These benefits included priviledged private VIP access to the Exposition, participating Pavilions and Attractions (the Pavilion of Spain, the five thematic Pavilions of the Expo, Navigation, Discovery, Plaza of the Future, Fifteenth Century, Nature, and the Expo Arts Pavilions); VIP-guided attendance (a multi-lingual service) for the duration of your visit to the Exposition; pre-visit orientation with an overview of the Expo site at the site's official scale model (in custom-built executive marquis enclosure); and optional golf buggy hire (with VIP Attendant as driver).

Group sizes could be anything from a singular person to a group of three or four persons, or groups of 20, 100 or more. And visits could range from a half-day visit, full day visit, or several day visit - the chief goal of the program was a completely tailor-made Universal Exposition of Seville experience for the Guest - where every Guest's wish could be fulfilled, at minimum fuss, and maximum convenience.

Azafatos/Azafatas - (Host/Hostesses) for the program were sourced from all over Spain, Europe, and even as far as Morrocco and Australia (that means me!). Interviews for the Program were conducted prior to the Exposition's start, and right throughout the Exposition's six-month duration, and were conducted in Spanish, and proficiency in other target languages of the Expo was highly regarded, i.e. English, French, German, Italian, Arabic, Japanese (that also means me!).

As part of my recruitment drive for Seville, I arrived in Seville just over a year before the Expo started, in February of 1991, to take part in a one month intensive language course at a school in Dos Hermanas, a commuter town just 20 minutes by train from the Expo site, and lived with a Spanish family 'home-stay'. During this time, I did my own private research into the developing Expo site, and found out that tours of the 'under construction' Expo site were conducted daily, and at the conclusion of my month in Seville, took part in one of these guided day tours, partly conducted by private tour bus at the Expo site's periphery and main roads, and partly at a specially constructed marquis with the official site model - which strangely enough in just over one year's time, became part of my own job as a Guide for the Expo.

After completing the third year of my Australian University degree on scholarship in Japan, I arrived in Seville in March of 1992, this time one month before the Expo's start, and had an interview with Sr Carlos Telmo, Head of Public Relations, who was a wonderfully charming man, and, despite my enthusiasm, my inadequate Spanish language skills meant that my initial application to work with Public Relations failed. However, this firmed my resolve, and, in the subsequent weeks immediately prior to the Expo opening, applied for every job in the newspaper, knocked on the Guest Relations door of nearly every hotel in Seville, and visited the Expo site with friends from my World Expo '88 days in Brisbane, all the while getting to know more people at the Expo site, from the International Pavilions to the Expo Authority - the Seville World Trade Center at the Expo's southern Gates had almost become my second home! (and what busy and exciting days they were!).

And, as luck woud have it, just two days into the start of the Exposition, I received a telephone call - from a friend of a friend, to say that the Public Relations Department was hiring, and the very next day, had an interview in the same World Trade Center as I had a month earlier - and this time, with nearly fluent Spanish, and command of English and Japanese, was hired straight away, where soon I was trying out uniforms to size with some of my newly found Spanish colleagues.

With delegations from English-speaking Europe and the rest of the world, and Japanese delegations, and the occasional Spanish delegation, the Expo had quickly become my home, and the centre of my world - and the world itself. As His Majesty King Juan Carlos I had proclaimed - Seville - and the Island of Cartuja Expo Site - had become an Island for the World - and the World for an Island - and it was truly so.

Seville and the Expo site bristled with a 500-anniversary and fin-de-siecle air, as Columbus met the 21st Century, and mankind gathered confident of a significant achievement to sign off the end of the 20th Century - and the end of the Second Millennium A.D.

Seville's Universal Exposition had attracted nations from every corner and continent of the Globe, and, in conjunction with the appointment of Madrid as the 1992 Cultural Capital of Europe, and Barcelona as host of the 1992 Olympic Games, made the heart of the Spanish Empire, the heart of the World for 1992.

A truly once in a lifetime experience never to be repeated.

What are the highlights of my Seville, my Expo '92, my 1992?

Seville has a romance - from the La Giralda Tower and Cathedral, to the Plaza of Spain, to the Patio of the Oranges - you engage with the City as with a respectful lover - you never forget - you never regret. Expo '92 - visitors from all over the World...Europe, the USA, Japan, and occasionally Australia! Riding my collapsible mini-bike under the Alamillo Bridge every day to get to work - the cameraderie with my Spanish and international colleagues - Golf Buggy tours of the Expo site (these were the best - we didn't have to walk!)...and not forgetting to make sure the Golf Buggies were set to 're-charge' at the end of the day! My 1992? 1992 was my first year as an adult in this world - I had my 21st birthday, a World Expo, three languages, and a University degree behind me - and cogniscent of several great World capitals, so in 1992 I was 'un-leashed' in a sense on the World - with an Australian and British Passport that now made it possible for me to work anywhere in Australia - and anywhere in Europe as well.

I invite you to view my digital transcript of Seville, please enjoy!