It’s been nearly five years since Dubai won the right to host Expo 2020 and HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, promised that the emirate would “astonish the world” with its offering. Since that declaration, details about the event have gradually been revealed and there is a growing sense of excitement, especially given the city’s propensity for the extraordinary. Dubai certainly has plenty to live up to. The six-month festival has acted as a launch pad for innovative ideas and creations for close to 170 years, dating all the way back to the inaugural edition, London’s Great Exhibition of 1851. Taking place every five years, the World Expo has seen the unveiling of the Eiffel Tower, the Seattle Space Needle, the first television and even Heinz Tomato Ketchup. Similarly, Expo 2020 Dubai hopes to be a platform for more iconic launches.
There will be a great deal on offer to keep visitors entertained throughout the expo, which runs from October 20, 2020, until April 10, 2021. Each day there will be more than 60 entertainment items, ranging from live shows and musical performances to literary events and gastronomic surprises. Additionally, the 438-hectare site will be home to more than 200 food outlets, offering everything from takeaway spots to restaurants run by Michelin-starred chefs.
The countdown continues
Expo 2020 Dubai will celebrate a major milestone this month as it marks two years until the expo’s gates open to the world. Taking place on October 20 at 20:20, details about the event will be released throughout the month via Expo 2020 Dubai’s various social media channels. And, if the Three Years to Go event in 2017 is anything to go by, expect a mix of live music, entertainment and a host of expo-themed activities.
While entertainment will be on offer in numerous locations across the vast site, the central Al Wasl Plaza (wasl means connection in Arabic) will be the place to enjoy the event’s biggest celebrations and cultural events from more than 180 participating countries. This 150-metre wide and 67.5-metre tall domed space will be able to accommodate 15,000 people and will feature a unique 360-degree to create an immersive experience for all visitors.
This plaza will also act as a connecting hub between the three themed districts titled Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, which fall under the umbrella of the event’s main theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. Here, those in attendance will have the chance to explore individual country pavilions, each featuring unique architecture and cultural exhibitions. Each district will also have performance spaces, galleries, art installations and outdoor gardens.
A full events programme and a children’s park should prove enticing for families, while the gated area will include a variety of food and shopping options. In fact, there will be a wealth of opportunities to engage in some retail therapy, thanks to some 6,000 square metres of retail space throughout the expo site. Thanks to the many attractions and packed events schedule, the expo is expected to attract as many as 25 million visitors over the course of six months. With such a high volume of attendees, much is being done to improve transport links to the site in the Dubai South district. The Dubai Metro Red Line is currently being expanded to include a station within the grounds of the expo site, while 14 new bus links are set to help serve visitors to the venue.
The construction of the Expo 2020 Dubai site is also progressing rapidly, despite there being more than 700 days until proceedings get underway. So far, 42 million work hours have been completed on the site, while each week sees 6,100 cubic metres of concrete poured, and 500 tonnes of steel brought in as work continues on various structures. These staggering figures will only inflate in the coming 24 months as Dubai looks to make good on Sheikh Mohammed’s promise of delivering an expo that will truly astonish the rest of the world.