Dubai is preparing this week to receive millions of visitors with the launch of “Expo 2020” on Friday, which was postponed for a whole year due to Covid-19, and is considered the largest global event since the outbreak of the epidemic and the first of its kind in the Middle East.
The Expo will kick off Thursday with a big celebration, while the pavilions of the participating countries, numbering more than 190 in the world, have been prepared. Technological innovations will also be displayed. The first World Exhibition was held in London in 1851 at the specially built Crystal Palace, and the Eiffel Tower was displayed – as a temporary attraction – in Paris in 1889.
Dubai is hosting the Expo for the first time in the Middle East, and it is expected to be the largest event in the region, with an estimated 25 million visitors over the course of six months.
The biggest event organized during the Covid pandemic was the Tokyo Olympics, which were held last summer, but without spectators to limit transmission of the virus. Visitors to the exhibition will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result. They will also have to wear masks and adhere to social distancing rules.
And the UAE recorded a decline in infections with the epidemic, with less than 300 cases on Sunday – less than half of the injuries that were recorded two weeks ago.
Dubai Ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said during a visit to the Expo 2020 Operations and Control Room on Sunday, “We promised to organize an event that will be a milestone in the history of Expo (..) and work teams compete to translate the promise into tangible achievement, emphasizing our worth as a partner in making the future”.
According to the ruler of Dubai, “134 teams from 95 nationalities are working as one global team to launch a leading global event in a country that brought the world together at one time and place.”
Dubai will host the World Expo from next October for a period of six months. Since it reopened its doors to tourists in July 2020 until December, the emirate has received more than 1.7 million international visitors.
It hopes to add the exhibition to its many well-known skyscrapers, including the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. According to the Emirati media, citing a report by a travel company, “Burj Khalifa” is the most searched site in the world. “Did Expo 2020 make Burj Khalifa the new Eiffel Tower?” asked the Emirati newspaper, The National. According to the newspaper, “the essence of the World Expo has always been to give the feeling that the show is global and the environment in the UAE is very conducive to that.”
The delay will be in the interest of the UAE, which celebrates its fiftieth national day on December 2.
A panda robot and a pharaonic sarcophagus
Workers are busy putting the finishing touches on the site’s infrastructure and facilities in anticipation of the event. Politicians, businessmen, celebrities and athletes are expected to attend the Expo. In their pavilions, countries are displaying various products, from a Chinese robot in the form of a panda to a pharaonic sarcophagus in the Egyptian pavilion.
“Theme Weeks” will also be organized during the Expo, focusing on various issues such as climate, biodiversity, space, rural and urban development and others. China has one of the largest pavilions in the exhibition with an area of 4,636 square meters.
A pyramid-shaped farm with edible plants irrigated with rainwater generated by solar energy was set up in the Dutch pavilion, as the Expo will focus on sustainable solutions in the areas of water, energy and food.
Israel is also participating in the exhibition, in a new advanced step in relations between the UAE and Israel, which signed an agreement to normalize their relations a year ago.
Under the slogan “Towards Tomorrow” in both Hebrew and Arabic, the Israeli pavilion was set up under the auspices and supervision of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is open and has a ground that suggests sand dunes and large screens. Inside the pavilion, walkways made of a thin layer of concrete and painted the color of sand.