Exhibition World Issue 2 — 2020 - Page 43

EXPO 2020 Vision EXPO 2020 Vision Manik Mehta reports on Dubai’s EXPO 2020 progress and gets some insights from the team making it into a reality uch preparatory work on Dubai’s upcoming mega event EXPO 2020 – still scheduled to be held from 20 October 2020 to April 10, 2021 – has been completed despite the increasing threat and pressures of coronavirus. The construction of national pavilions for the participating countries, each with its own distinct identity, is at an advanced stage. The EXPO’s broad theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’; and participating nations will showcase their innovations, achievements and aspirations under three subthemes: ‘Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability’. Sumathi Ramanathan, the Global Destination Marketing Director for EXPO 2020 Dubai UAE, explained in an interview with Exhibition World at the recent New York Times Travel Show – that Dubai had set up a huge pavilion to promote EXPO 2020 Dubai. “EXPO 2020 Dubai is the largest mega event in the entire Middle East, Africa and South Asia region,” Ramanathan noted. w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk The EXPO is run by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organisation which oversees and regulates all long-term non-commercial international exhibitions. It awarded the 2020 event to Dubai, having accepted its bid in Paris in November 2013. “The size of the EXPO 2020 site is about 4.38sq.km and is located between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in an area called Dubai South. We are building a new metro station which will be used later for commuter services. In addition, there will be a new central exhibition centre of about 48,000sqm functioning during the EXPO,” she added. A massive transportation operation deploying 580 shuttle buses will be launched throughout the UAE in time for EXPO 2020, which organisers expect to attract some 25m visitors, 70% of whom are expected to come from outside the UAE. Capital expenditure of AED25bn is being allocated for EXPO 2020, with much of the infrastructure being used later for other purposes. “We are trying to get multinational corporations (MNCs) to use the infrastructure for their business operations,” Ramanathan explained; and indeed big corporate names include Merck, Atlas and Capital are among those setting up a presence. The post-EXPO legacy infrastructure will include logistics, transportation and innovation facilities. Two of the EXPO’s official premier partners, Accenture and Siemens, are planning to establish a permanent presence in Dubai, with Siemens setting up its global headquarters for airports, cargo and ports logistics at the site, and Accenture opening a digital hub. Ramanathan said that some four million tickets for the expositions had been secured by international visitors, with 2,000 ticket resellers signed up to sell EXPO tickets. “We also expect many foreign leaders to attend this government-led mega event,” she maintained, although admittedly was speaking to EW before the Covid-19 outbreak had reached the levels we are seeing in late March. The EXPO timetable remains unchanged so far. Besides two summits – the World Block Chain Summit and the World Government Summit – 60 events a day are anticipated during EXPO 2020, with themes including culture, technology, innovation, music and creativity. National pavilions will reflect the unique characteristics of each country. The UK pavilion, for example, has a strong ‘Stephen Hawking touch’ – a project by the scientist inspiring the pavilion’s concept and highlighting technology and artificial intelligence. The Indian diaspora in the UAE has pledged significant funding for the construction of the India pavilion, which could cost up to AED250m. Highlights of the India Pavilion will include a tall statue of Mahatma Gandhi and depict facets of India’s 5,000-year-old culture. The programme will be embellished by culture, art, entertainment, gems and jewellery. It will also feature cuisines, commerce and space research, as well as including Diwali, the ‘Festival of Lights’. There will be a great variety to see at each national pavilion. Issue 2 2020 43