Expo 2020 Dubai opens

01 October 2021

After a delay of one year due to the Corona virus pandemic, Expo 2020  Dubai opens on October 1, ready to welcome visitors to the Arab World’s largest global gathering to date.

Excitement is building up at the venue and across the UAE, which became the first Arab country to organise this global event when it beat four other countries – Turkey, Brazil, Thailand and Russia – in 2013 for the right to host Expo 2020 Dubai.

Running from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, organisers of the Expo 2020 Dubai hope to attract 25 million visitors from across the planet to join the making of a new world during a six-month celebration.

The spectacular opening of Expo 2020 Dubai, raising the curtain on what will be a defining event as people, nations and communities come together, will take place in Al Wasl Plaza – the beating heart of the Expo site – on September 30.

The Expo 2020 Dubai site covers an area of 4.38 sq km of the Dubai South District, near the Al-Maktoum International Airport. It is also divided into three thematic districts: Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.

The Expo will gather more than 200 participants, including 191 countries. For the first time in World Expo history, each country will have its own pavilion, reflecting the inclusive spirit of the UAE.

The 15,000 sq m UAE pavilion, designed by renowned architect and engineer Dr Santiago Calatrava, will be the biggest while Saudi Arabia’s 13,059 sq m pavilion comes next.

The global mega event is also set to be an important driver for the UAE’s non-oil economy. “The global event is expected to lift travel and tourism, which accounts for up to 16 per cent of GDP in the UAE, both directly and indirectly through its impact on the supply chain and the spending it supports,’ Oxford Economics analysts wrote in the Middle East Economic Insight report for the third quarter of 2021.

Hotel occupancy rates have also recovered, supported by a rise in ‘staycations’ and visitor numbers rising by nearly 40 per cent in 2021 - after dropping by two-thirds in 2020. However, they are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023, according to ICAEW, which has commissioned the report.

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