Inside the Fascinating World of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Expo 2020 begins on October 20, 2020
The Expo 2020 begins on October 20, 2020 | © Expo 2020
Leah Simpson

Expo 2020 Dubai will host a series of spectacular cultural and scientific events to inspire visitors and residents, with plenty to offer in terms of creativity and talent. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming event.

Expo 2020 Dubai kicks off October 20, 2020 and runs until April 10, 2021. Coinciding with the UAE’s 50th anniversary, it will be open from 10am to 1am on weekdays and until 2am on weekends.

This is big news for UAE Vision 2021, a government agenda that aims to place the UAE ‘among the best countries in the world’, and is expected to boost tourism, develop homegrown businesses and contribute to the good reputation of Dubai internationally, including with the world’s governments. Italy, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Greece, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, Chile, Nigeria, Germany and Ireland are just some of the countries taking part.

‘Expo will leave a lasting impact as an economic driver, including stimulating new investment and jobs, and by showing that the UAE is on a path towards an economy based on human potential and a welcoming, dynamic hub for innovation, collaboration and aspiration,’ Marjan Faraidooni, Senior Vice President for Legacy and Development at Expo 2020 Dubai, told us.

How was the Expo 2020 granted to Dubai?

In November 2013, the Bureau International des Exposition’s 167 members voted in Paris that Dubai should win the bid over the likes of São Paulo in Brazil, Izmir in Turkey and Ekaterinburg in Russia.

The World Expo takes place every five years and lasts for six months, aiming to showcase the best innovations from around the world in one major city. It started in 1851 in London, and while it has taken place in Shanghai, Milan and various other cities, some of them multiple times, it’s especially significant for Dubai.

‘Expo 2020 Dubai is the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, making it an unprecedented opportunity to showcase the talents of our people and our progressive, modern society,’ Faraidooni continued.

Al Wasl Plaza

What is Expo 2020 Dubai about?

The theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ and it’s expected to be a breeding ground for some of the most innovative ideas from around the planet. In the past, it has seen the unveiling of the likes of the Eiffel Tower, the first typewriter, televisions and even Heinz Tomato Ketchup. So you can expect it to be the platform for some iconic brand launches, and for the next stage of Dubai’s global popularity.

The Dubai Expo’s official logo was inspired by a gold ring found at the Saroug Al Hadeed archaeological site, and symbolises the connection between the East and West that Dubai represents. Some 70% of the visitors are expected to be from outside of the country, the highest proportion in the Expo’s history.

Official sponsors include UPS, PepsiCo, Etisalat, Emirates Airline and Nissan.

The Sustainability Pavilion

The Expo 2020 Dubai pavilions

Al Wasl Plaza dome and its two surrounding buildings will be a space for the 180 countries taking part to host cultural events; with al wasl meaning ‘connection’, it’s an apt name. Each country will have a pavilion at the gate of the 4.38-square kilometre (1.69-square mile) site, but less than half of the space is to be taken up by pavilions. The rest will be dedicated to amenities such as staff accommodation, hotels, transport links, retail areas and even a public park in the village. A whopping 30,000 volunteers will be working at the events and acting as the face of Dubai.

The Mobility Pavilion

Sub-themes for Expo 2020 Dubai come in the form of three pavilions:

‘Opportunity’ aims to ‘unlock the potential for individuals and communities to shape the future’.

‘Mobility’ is about creating a ‘smarter and more productive movement of people, goods and ideas, both physically and virtually’.

‘Sustainability’ is due to be completed in October 2019; this pavilion aims to show how buildings can be self-sustainable in water. Using solar energy and water from the air, in fact, at least half of the Expo 2020 site will be powered by sustainable energy. This pavilion focusses on building a sustainable future for everyone.

Within the sub-themed pavilions will be entertainment spaces, art installations, gardens and various flavours to sample from around the world.

‘Expo 2020 Dubai will bring together 180 countries and millions of people to celebrate human ingenuity,’ Faraidooni added. ‘There will be something for everyone, from discovering new innovations and our future potential to exploring cultures from around the world and enjoying dozens of daily performances, unique food experiences and music, not to mention the awe-inspiring architecture.’

There are plans for 80% of the infrastructure built to be reused after the event, and Siemens AG have already announced that its new global logistics headquarters will be located here.

How to get to Expo 2020 Dubai

The main site is in Dubai South district, near Al Maktoum International Airport, although developments are being made to ensure those landing at Dubai International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport and Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminals can also get there easily.

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