We look ahead to Dubai’s rearranged World Expo and examine what to expect from the highly anticipated event
Writer: Sean Galea-Pace
Dubai’s Expo 2020.
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime celebration and set to be the largest event staged in the Arab world.
The disruption caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic meant that Dubai’s showcase event will now be held from 1st October 2021, to 31st March 2022 instead of in its original titular name. With safety paramount, the delay will allow all participants to safely navigate the impact of COVID-19 and enable the World Expo to focus on a collective desire for new thinking to identify solutions to some of the greatest challenges of all-time.
At the time, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group, and Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, commented:
“We welcome the decision of BIE Member States to support the delay Expo 2020 Dubai by one year. We’re thankful to Member States for their continued commitment to contributing to a World Expo in Dubai that will play a pivotal role in shaping our post-pandemic world at a time when it will be most needed.
“Over the past 50 years, we have sought to build bridges, connections, and partnerships worldwide because we believe in genuine collaboration to safeguard the future of all. The swift and overwhelming vote reflects the strength of our international partnerships and truly reflects the positive role in the UAE and Dubai play with all countries around the world.
“This affirmation by the international community of Dubai’s offering and its ability to deliver, further strengthens our commitment to matching ambition with achievement to hosting an event that will capture the world’s imagination, when the time is right.”
What is the Expo 2020 Dubai?
In the very first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region, it’s set to be a major international event in terms of size, scale, duration, and visitor numbers.
The Expo 2020 site is around 4.38 square-kilometres and is located in the Dubai South district, which is ideal for visitors, with Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai international Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport, and Dubai and Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminals all nearby.
Lofty sustainability goals
Dubai’s Expo aims to be the most sustainable World Expo of all time. In order to achieve this ambition, sustainability is integrated into all elements of Expo 2020, while also introducing a meaningful impact beyond the six months of the Expo and harnessing a greener approach long-term.
Its sustainability impact is based around four key objectives. These are:
• To leave a legacy of sustainable infrastructure and cutting-edge sustainability practices.
• To catalyse sustainability efforts in Dubai and the UAE.
• To increase public awareness about and engagement with sustainability principles and sustainable living.
• To develop sustainability answers that are scalable, extending benefits to the wider economy.
To do that, Expo 2020 is seeking to achieve its sustainability goals through generating cleaner energy, reducing water consumption, promoting natural solutions, minimising its carbon footprint, leveraging sustainable building materials, and decreasing waste.
With more than 200 food and beverage outlets, there is something for everyone. The Expo will play host to street food, haute cuisine, family-friendly meals, sustainable dining, and unique culinary journeys to name a few. Arts and culture will also come to the fore at Dubai’s Expo as Al Wasl Opera will offer a diverse range of installations, artistic creations, workshops, and performances.
At the heart is the UAE pavilion, with its breathtaking design inspired by a falcon in flight. The event will have exhibition areas, an auditorium and numerous VIP lounges. Elsewhere, there will be live performances from world-famous celebrities and comedians, poetry slams, fashion shows, and world-leading speakers in attendance.
Every day during the 173 days of the Expo, a different country will be featured in a cultural showcase which will offer parades and other festivities, in addition to fireworks displays and entertainment into the early hours.
Ultimately, Dubai’s Expo can’t come at a better time from both a financial and personal point of view. As a result of a disruptive 2020, Dubai’s tourism industry would significantly benefit from a boost with around 70 percent of visitors expected to come from outside the UAE. Whereas it is anticipated that around 111,000 new jobs will be created and enable the real-estate market to boom. It is also hoped that the Expo will provide attendees with something to look forward to following a challenging 2020 that turned the world upside down.