A display of optimism


Dubai 2020 to go ahead this year with a return to ‘normal’

Dubai is gearing up to host the World Expo – one year after it was originally supposed to be held. It will now run from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.

More than 190 countries will participate in the event, showcasing innovations around the themes of sustainability, mobility and opportunity.

Held every five years, expos see hundreds of countries using pavilions to show off the latest in architecture and technology.

Before the pandemic forced the event to be postponed, the organisers had expected 25 million visitors during the course of the six-month international fair. However, despite restrictions on travel, and the recent lockdowns in some parts of Europe, the organisers are holding on to the pre-pandemic target. The UAE has managed to roll out vaccines at a rapid pace, with more than 68% of the population inoculated*. 

For the first time in World Expo history, every participating country
will have its own pavilion. The UK pavilion (picured) will take the theme ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’, inspired by one of Stephen Hawking’s final projects, ‘Breakthrough Message’ around what we would communicate to alien visitors.

  • More than 190 countries are taking part, in the first such event to be held in the Middle East.
  • The Expo is expected to boost Dubai’s economy by £24bn and to create up to 300,000 jobs.
  • The site covers 4.3 sq km, or 613 football pitches, and the Expo will have its own metro station.
  • Uber will be testing flying cars during the event.
  • Some 90% of the materials used in construction will then be used to create permanent buildings afterwards.

Take a virtual tour of the UK pavilion at

*Source: Reuters, correct at time of going to press

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