Pssst--There's an Expo This Year

It's billed as the biggest world's fair yet--with 150 countries and organizations--and the last one of this century: Expo '98 in Lisbon, May 22 to Sept. 30. But if you live in the United States, you probably haven't heard about it.

There's been little publicity here, even though the fair's centerpiece, a massive Oceanarium (Oceans Pavilion) that will be Europe's largest aquarium, is designed by an American, Peter Chermayeff. U.S. tour bookings have been light, agents say.

But in Europe, it's a different story. Europeans are booking heavily. It's almost impossible to get "loose" reservations in Lisbon during the fair, said Wes Johnston of the Petrabax travel agency in Woodland Hills.

A good bet is to work with tour agencies that have reserved blocks of rooms. Among them are Petrabax, telephone (818) 884-1984; EC Tours in Valley Village, tel. (818) 755-9333; and Alta Tours in San Francisco, tel. (415) 777-1312. Single tickets (about $29 per day) can be ordered by fax (011-351-1-831-9147), or e-mail: ICAPACHO@EXPO98.PT. Information: Portuguese National Tourist Office, tel. (212) 354-4403.

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