DUBAI — All eyes are on World Expo 2020, one of the first major global events to be held since the start of Covid, delayed a full year because of the pandemic. Happening now through March of 2022 and built from scratch in the desert outside the city to the tune of $7 billion, it is expected to attract 25 million business and tourist visitors over 6 months and is the first World Expo ever to be held in the Middle East.
A remarkable 400,000 people visited World Expo 2020 in the first 10 days of October. “Expo 2020 Dubai’s opening week has undoubtedly been a success,” Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, Secretary General of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), said. “The numbers we are seeing are very encouraging and demonstrate the global desire for people to reconnect with each other and to imagine a better future.”
World Expos are one of the oldest and biggest international events on the planet, taking place every five years. With a theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” this Expo has set out to showcase the best examples of collaboration, innovation and cooperation from around the world. Its 192 national pavilions (a new record) showcase the work of top starchitects and immerse visitors in various cultures. The United Arab Emirates pavilion, a focal point, is shaped like a falcon (the national bird) in flight, with wings made of carbon fiber and fitted with solar panels.
The event is also an important opportunity for the United Arab Emirates to shape its national image and to promote its modern side and how the country has moved beyond its roots as an oil mecca toward sustainable energy and development. Sustainable and emerging technologies are being showcased in almost every pavilion: The Czech pavilion extracts water vapor from the air; Morocco’s pavilion is constructed from compacted dirt instead of traditional steel; and Singapore’s features 80,000 plants.
In fact, the entire event is a showcase for venues around the world to learn how to use solar and other renewable resources for power and to recycle much of the water they use. Then, in March, another first: Most of the structures will be recycled to create residences, warehouses and commercial buildings, even hospitals and schools — essentially a new neighborhood that will be located right on the metro.
Reach Dimitri S. Kerkentzes at 33 (0) 1 45 00 38 63