Exhibition World Issue 2 — 2020 - Page 44

EXPO 2020 Vision Dubai still on track to welcome the future Shaun Vorster, Vice-President, Commercial, EXPO 2020 Dubai, gives EW some exclusive insights into the hard work being done by the organisers What is the current stage of the event infrastructure construction and preparations for EXPO 2020 Dubai? All permanent EXPO-led construction was completed by the end of last year. This includes the Thematic Districts (which were completed in May 2019), the permanent Thematic Pavilions and Al Wasl Plaza – the jewel of the EXPO 2020 site and where the opening and closing ceremonies and other key events will take place. We are in the process of fitting out the completed buildings and soft-scaping the EXPO 2020 site, which includes planting hundreds of thousands of trees and plants – most of which are native – that have been cultivated in our on-site nursery. Country Pavilions are progressing well, with Finland, Germany and Hungary having already topped-out their structures. How much has been invested in the project and what have been the main challenges in delivering it to date? EXPO 2020 is a long-term investment. We are committed to delivering an exceptional EXPO on budget. EXPO 2020’s apex budget is AED25 billion (US$6.8bn). Hosting a World Expo is a monumental task. The challenges are highly complex requiring global expertise and experience across a vast number of fields. In addition, dozens of local and federal entities – and indeed the nation as a whole – are coming together to ensure that Dubai and the UAE are ready to welcome millions of visitors and host an exceptional World Expo. 44 Issue 2 2020 For example, Dubai authorities have implemented huge infrastructure upgrades via major Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) projects, including new roads and the Dubai Metro extension that will take users directly to the door of EXPO 2020. Meanwhile, Dubai Health Authority is working with other government entities and private healthcare providers to ensure a safe and healthy environment. Tell us about the organiser’s expectations in terms of visitor numbers? EXPO 2020 Dubai expects to welcome 25m visits during the six-month event. Wer have more than 200 participants including 192 countries, plus organisations, businesses and educational institutions. Strategic marketing initiatives include the ‘Welcome the Future’ campaign; the debut campaign by EXPO 2020 Dubai Global Ambassador and Argentina and Barcelona football icon Lionel Messi; and the ‘Be There’ campaign voiced by American rapper, producer and creative innovator will.i.am. Tell us about the key themes of EXPO 2020. Expo 2020’s theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, is the belief that innovation and progress are the result of people and ideas coming together in new ways. Our sub-themes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability are areas that we see as fundamental in shaping our world, helping unlock the potential for individuals and communities to DEC and Informa to deliver EXPO 2020 events EXPO 2020 Dubai has a wide-ranging agreement with global organizer Informa that will bring some of the region’s major business and entertainment events to Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC) during the world EXPO. Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, Executive Director, Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, said: “Informa will be bringing some of the most exciting and popular events in Dubai to the DEC, enabling visitors to enhance their experience with all that EXPO 2020 has to offer.” Peter Hall, President of Informa Markets in Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “Informa has been operating in the Middle East, with Dubai as its hub, for over 25 years. Dubai has established itself as a global meeting point for business, and we have enjoyed enormous success thanks in no small part to the Emirate’s drive for world-class infrastructure and experiences, which EXPO 2020 is set to build upon.” Other Informa-organised events at DEC include NAJAH (1-2 November 2020), an annual higher education student recruitment fair involving international universities; the Seatrade Maritime Middle East exhibition and awards, as well as Terminal Operator Conferences during UAE Maritime Week 2020 (6-10 December 2020); and the Leaders in Healthcare conference (dates to be announced next year). All EXPO 2020-built structures are designed to achieve at least LEED Gold certification. EXPO 2020 will also have 30,000 volunteers from a wide range of ages, nationalities and backgrounds and they will be working over the 4.38 sqkm site, which is located adjacent to the Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South. EXPO 2020 Dubai is the first World Expo to take place in the MEASA (Middle East, Africa and South Asia) region. w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk