Expo 2020 aims to wow visitors

Sumathi Ramanathan

In October 2020, the UAE will welcome 192 participating countries and millions of global visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai.

Held under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, Expo 2020 will be the first World Expo hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. It expects to attract 25 million visits, equivalent to the population of Australia, with around 70 per cent of visitors coming from outside the UAE – the largest proportion of international visitors in the 168-year history of World Expos.

Sixty live performances a day, future-shaping technologies, concerts from A-list artists, daily parades, cutting-edge architecture, world-famous chefs, special celebrations including Christmas and Diwali, and more than 200 F&B outlets: these are just a handful of reasons why Expo 2020 will be an unmissable experience.

Expo 2020, taking place from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021, is also introducing a number of firsts in World Expo history. For instance, it will be the first time every participating country has its own pavilion to showcase its people, culture, innovations, achievements and aspirations.

The 192 Country Pavilions are located not according to geography, as in previous World Expos, but instead by their chosen Expo 2020 subtheme of Opportunity, Mobility or Sustainability.

Sumathi Ramanathan, Director – destination marketing, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Visitors will be able to travel the world in one place, no passport needed. A day’s journey could include a taste of the French Riviera in the Monaco Pavilion, an eye-opening look at Maori culture at the New Zealand Pavilion, a relaxing town square coffee in the Spain Pavilion and a frankincense-inspired trip to the Oman Pavilion.

“A structure that’s sure to wow visitors is Al Wasl Plaza, whose steel trellis dome will act as a 360-degree projection surface that can be viewed from both inside and outside. Meanwhile the falcon-inspired UAE Pavilion will have moving ‘wings’ that harvest clean energy, and the Sustainability Pavilion will take you on a fascinating adventure through forests and oceans.

“Foodies are in for a treat at Expo 2020, with 200-plus dining outlets, deep-dive culinary tours and a glimpse into the gastronomic experiences of tomorrow, with Expo looking to incorporate robotics, augmented reality and virtual reality into its F&B offering.”

Expo 2020 won’t simply be 173 days of world-class entertainment; it also seeks to leave behind a meaningful and lasting legacy.

For example, another first is Expo Live – a $100 million global social innovation and partnership programme helping develop novel solutions to social and environmental challenges.

Expo 2020 will also set a new benchmark for the region’s meetings and events industry, offering a wide variety of unique spaces for business visitors to grow their networks.

Located on the doorstep of Expo 2020, the state-of-the-art Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC) features 45,000 sqm of programmable space. It will be directly connected to the Dubai Metro 2020 link and host all sorts of seminars, conferences and summits during the six months of Expo and beyond.
Once Expo closes its doors in April 2021, the site will live on as District 2020 – a future city that will retain at least 80 per cent of Expo’s built environment, including Al Wasl Plaza, the DEC and the Sustainability Pavilion.

The 5G-enabled District 2020 will serve as a residential community and a thriving hub for businesses – with two of Expo 2020’s Official Premier Partners, Accenture and Siemens, set to establish a permanent presence there.

Coinciding with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee in 2021, Expo 2020 Dubai will underline the nation’s rich history and its strong vision of the future, as well as providing the perfect opportunity to say ‘hayyakum’ (Arabic for ‘welcome’) to the world.