Postcard from Dubai: Expo 2020

For more than a quarter of a century, the name Dubai has conjured images of big money, fast cars, and sleek towers rising from the sands symbolizing the Emirate’s international ambitions. During that time, nearly every major player in fashion, restaurants, and hotels has wanted a piece of the action there. Consequently, the City of Gold has emerged as a global hub of travel and thought leadership—both of which are currently represented in the pavilions of the pandemic-delayed Dubai Expo 2020, on view through the end of March, which explores the future of life on Earth.

Expo 2020 Dubai celebrates human brilliance and achievement, gives an opportunity for people from different corners of the world to connect and to experience the best of art, culture, geography, science, technology, innovation and invention. Dubai hopes and expects that Expo 2020 will inspire the next generation and spark innovations that will underline the next 50 years of human progress.

Expo 2020 Dubai is also a celebration of the UAE Vision 2021, supporting the growth of tourism, stimulating the development of innovative businesses in the UAE, and enhancing the country’s international reputation as a location to do business. In particular, it will focus on the power of youth and unlock the potential of one of the world’s youngest and fastest growing populations.

Expo 2020 Dubai also coincides with the UAE’s 50th anniversary in 2021, marking an important milestone for the UAE.

Expo 2020 Dubai is the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, and the first to be hosted by an Arab nation. It’s built on what will become the new World Trade Exhibition Centre at the end of the Metro line and the site covers 4.38 square kilometres. Its theme is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, with sub-themes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.

At the heart of the Expo 2020 site is the Al Wasl Plaza which will provide the focal point for the celebrations. Historically, Dubai was called Al Wasl, or the “Connection”, because it connected people from all over the region.

Based on the sub-themes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, there are three thematic districts at the Expo site. Each thematic district is anchored by a pavilion, also based on the sub-themes, which house interactive exhibitions and engaging content to explore the themes in a fun and entertaining way. Each Thematic District also includes performance spaces, innovation galleries, art installations and outdoor gardens.

There are 192 pavilions in total – far too many to see in our two visits. The UAE has a particularly spectacular pavilion that resembles a falcon in flight and was designed by Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava.

What to see and do at Expo 2020

Map of the 2020 (2021) Expo/World's Fair in Dubai : r/MapPorn

Everyone’s visit starts at the Al Wasl Plaza, where you can see artwork and interactive installations. From there you can branch out along the various sub-theme paths to visit the various country and partner pavilions. Expo 2020 has been designed to be explored on foot but there are also Expo Explorer trains available to explore each area of Expo 2020 with stops within the thematic districts. Plus Expo Buggies for custom point to point travel and regular buses with stops near entrances to the thematic districts operating on a circular route.

Aside from the pavilions from 192 different countries where you can learn all about their history and culture, there are more than 60 live shows each day; everything from operas to pop-up theatres, flash mobs to sports events and even national day celebrations. In addition, tech enthusiasts can experience a truly connected world with autonomous vehicles, robotics, augmented reality and space explorations.

To sustain you, you can literally taste the world at Expo with cultural influences from around the planet. There are over 200 different restaurants celebrating more than 50 different cuisines from around the world – from street fare to haute cuisine, as well as sustainable meals from locally-sourced produce that promote wellness. To quench your thirst, the Expo site has around 45 water fountains where you can get drinking water.

What next?

As I mentioned above, more than 80% of Expo 2020 Dubai’s infrastructure will have practical value long into the future as part of District 2020. For example, the Al Wasl Plaza will remain. The sustainability pavilion will become Terra, the Children and Science Centre. The mobility pavilion will become a commercial building and the UAE pavilion will remain and will be managed by the UAE government.


26 Comments on “Postcard from Dubai: Expo 2020

  1. Very impressive expo and your photographs and commentary do it justice. On a different note, does Dubai worry about having enough water with all this building and population explosion?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: ReBlogging ‘Postcard from Dubai: Expo 2020’ – Link Below | Relationship Insights by Yernasia Quorelios

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