What exactly is Expo 2020 Dubai?

There’s just One Year to Go. One year till Dubai showcases the World’s Greatest Show.

Expo 2020 Dubai will be a celebration of human brilliance and achievement. It will be an opportunity for people to connect from different corners of the world, to experience the best of art, culture, geography, science, technology, innovation and invention and to set into motion millions of new thoughts and ideas that will make a lasting impact in our lives. Throughout its history, the UAE has shown the world what is possible through its remarkable development. With Expo 2020 Dubai, Dubai will go a step further in inspiring the next generation to spark innovations that will underline the next 50 years of human progress. Expo 2020 Dubai will be a celebration of the UAE Vision 2021 by 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. 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. So are you ready for the countdown? We have here all that you want to know about Expo 2020 Dubai and how you can play a part.

What is Expo 2020 Dubai?

Expo 2020 Dubai is a World Expo that’s going to be hosted by Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. A World Expo is a mega international event in terms of size, scale, and duration and visitor numbers. It’s a festival and a platform where people from all over the world come together and connect with each other, share ideas, learn and innovate. It’s also a place you can come and have fun. 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.

Where is the Expo 2020 Dubai site?

The Expo 2020 site spans 4.38 square kilometers and is located in the Dubai South district, close to Al Maktoum International Airport and within easy reach of Dubai International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport and Dubai and Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminals.

How can I reach the site?

By car it will take you 40 minutes to reach the Expo site from Downtown Dubai. You can also use the Dubai Metro. Expo 2020 will have its own dedicated Dubai Metro Station on the route 2020 line, with carriages capable to transporting 40,000 passengers per hour to and from the site. Dates and times
  • Opening day: October 20, 2020
  • Closing day: April 10, 2021
Site opening hours
  • Weekdays: 9am-1am
  • Weekends and special days: 10am-2am

Have there been World Expos in the past? What was the first World Expo?

The first World Expo was London’s Great Exhibition of 1851. Since then World Expos have been held in many countries around the world organized around a theme that attempts to improve our knowledge in arts, culture, science and technology.

How frequently are the World Expos held?

They are organized every five years and last for six months.

Is there an organization for World Expos?

The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is the intergovernmental organisation that regulates and oversees World Expos, preserving the core values of education, innovation and cooperation on behalf of its 170 member states. It was founded in 1928.

Where did the last Expo take place?

The last Expo took place in 2015 in Milan. Its theme was ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’. It focused on nutrition and food. It was the second time the city hosted a World Expo, with the first being in 1906.

When did the Dubai win the Expo?

On November 27, 2013, the UAE was elected as the host country of World Expo 2020 during the 154th General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). This was the outcome of the voting of the 164 nation members. Dubai won by a resounding majority of 116 votes, leaving behind its contestant Yekaterinburg in Russia with only 47.

What have World Expos given us in the past?

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Seattle Space Needle, the typewriter, television and even Heinz Tomato Ketchup are some of the things that World Expos have given us.

Does the Expo 2020 Dubai have a theme as well?

Yes each Expo revolves around its own theme to leave a lasting impact on the path of human progress. Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

What is the logo of Expo 2020 Dubai?

In March 2016, Expo 2020 Dubai revealed its new logo, which was inspired by a ring found at the Saroug Al Hadeed archaeological site.

How many people will be attending the Expo?

Over six months more than 200 participants, including 192 countries, and millions of visitors, will come together to celebrate Expo 2020 Dubai.

What are the subthemes of Expo 2020 Dubai?

Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability. Opportunity is unlocking the potential for individuals and communities to shape the future. Mobility is to create smarter and more productive movement of people, goods and ideas, both physically and virtually. Sustainability is respecting and living in balance with the world we inhabit.

How will be the Expo site look? What will be its main assets?

At the heart of the Expo 2020 site will be the Al Wasl Plaza. This will be focal point for the celebrations over the six months. Historically, Dubai was called Al Wasl, or the “Connection”, because it connected people from all over the region. Visitors at Expo 2020 Dubai will gather at Al Wasl Plaza to enjoy celebrations and cultural events from 192 countries. Based on the subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, there will be three thematic districts at the Expo site. Each thematic district will be anchored by a thematic pavilion, also based on the subthemes. The thematic pavilions will house interactive exhibitions and engaging content to explore the themes in a fun and entertaining way. Each Thematic District will also include performance spaces, innovation galleries and art installations and outdoor gardens.

How many country pavilions can I visit?


Will the UAE have a pavilion?

Yes the UAE will have its own pavilion that resembles a falcon in flight and is designed by Santiago Calatrava.

When did work start on the Expo 2020 Dubai site?

Site development at the physical Expo 2020 Dubai site began in March 2016.

How can I join or contribute to the Expo?

Residents of Dubai are encouraged to join the journey to Expo 2020 through a variety of options – from Expo Live’s pioneering social projects helping communities around the globe, to the volunteers programme, which will see a diverse mix of 30,000 UAE residents and expats become the ‘face’ of the next World Expo. You can register for the volunteer programme here volunteers.ae/register.aspx Earlier this year there have been community engagement programes leading up to the event – for example ‘The World’s Greatest Show in the Making’ bus tours that ran over the summer The Online Marketplace (OMP) is another great opportunity for SMEs, home businesses, and individuals in the UAE to network, advertise products and services, and compete for opportunities across borders. Currently, there are more than 38,000 suppliers and buyers from 151 countries including the UAE registered. All tender opportunities related to Expo 2020 Dubai are now posted directly to the OMP. Most importantly, you can contribute by attending the event and being part of the World’s Greatest Show.

What can I do at the Expo 2020 Dubai?

There will be enough to delight and dazzle you at Expo 2020 Dubai. From art, music, gastronomy to technology, architecture and entertainment, a day is not enough for you to cherish the magic of the largest event ever held in the Arab world. Start your day at the Al Wasl Plaza, where you get to see artwork and interactive installations from local and global talents. You can also go on an architectural adventure and marvel at the pavilions built on innovative and sustainable designs. Imagine embarking on a journey where you end up visiting 192 different countries and learning all about their history and culture. There will be more than 60 live shows each day, so everything from operas to pop-up theatres, flash mobs to sports events and even national day celebrations, there will be enough to keep you coming back. For tech enthusiasts there will be opportunities to experience a truly connected world with autonomous vehicles, robotics, augmented reality and space explorations.

What can I eat at the Expo 2020?

Expo 2020 will have food offerings as broad and diverse as the city of Dubai and the 190-plus participant nations that are joining this global mega event. A visitor can expect to see food of all shapes and sizes and price points to suit different budgets. You can literally taste the world at Expo with cultural influences from around the planet. There will be around 200 different restaurants celebrating more than 50 different cuisines from around the world. You can delight your taste buds from a range of options available here – from street fare to haute cuisine, as well as sustainable meals from locally-sourced produce that promote wellness.

Will drinking water be easily available at the Expo site?

Yes, the Expo site will have 45 water fountains (also called sabeels) where you can access potable water.

Can kids visit the Expo site?

Yes, there are two parks – Al Forsan and Jubilee – where kids can play.

Who are the mascots of Expo2020 Dubai?

Two inquisitive Emirati kids called Latifa and Rashid will be the other main mascots along with a team of robots named Opti, Alif and Terra.

Can I shop for souvenirs at the Expo site?

Expo 2020 Dubai souvenirs will be anything but ordinary. The first licensed products, all by GCC-based SMEs, are already available: Expo-inspired chocolate by Mirzam, camel soap by the Camel Soap Factory and Bateel dates. Through the Expo 2020 Dubai Merchandising and Licensing programme, we will have on sale some 5,000 official licensed products from up to 70 Official Licensees.

Will the Expo have hotels for visitors to stay? Where will participants and staff stay?

The Expo 2020 Village will have participant and staff accommodation, warehousing, logistics, transport nodes, hotels, retail and a public park.

Is there any dress code for visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai?

Visitors do not have a dress code. Any light casual and comfortable clothing is good for UAE’s sunny weather. However, during December and January, you might need a jumper or in a place that has a power air conditioning (for example, a cinema or a hotel lobby). Make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Public dress codes in the UAE are are usually relaxed but it is still a good idea to respect the local culture. Avoid revealing clothing in malls and restaurants and make sure you cover your head when you enter places of worship.

How can I buy tickets for Expo 2020?

You will be able to buy tickets through the Expo 2020 website, through a network of Authorized Ticket Resellers, contracted with Expo 2020, and at the Expo 2020 gates during the event. Tickets will go on sale to the general public in April 2020, although visitors to Dubai will be able to buy monthly and season passes directly from Expo from Q4 2019.

How much are the tickets?

A single-day adult (18 and over) ticket will cost Dh120 (USD 33), while a three-day pass, which can be used on any three days during the 173 days of the Expo, will be priced at Dh260 (USD 71). Your ticket will give you access to a once-in-a-lifetime experience, including 60 live shows a day, future-shaping technologies, performances from world-famous artists, daily parades, cutting-edge architecture, special celebrations and more than 200 food and beverage outlets serving a world of cuisines.

Are children and senior citizens allowed free?

There is free access for children aged five and under and seniors aged 65 and over.

What about school students?

Youth aged six to 17 and students of any age will receive 50 per cent discount, while people of determination will be granted complimentary access, with their careers entering for half price.

What is the Expo School Programme?

The Expo School Programme has been engaging with schools and students of the UAE in the build up to Expo 2020 and will be creating memorable journeys for them during the six-month event. Here is what a school can do: 1: Bring its students to the Expo site and discover more about the UAE’s rich culture and heritage at the UAE pavilion, designed in the shape of a falcon in flight. Also visit the 92 country pavilions and learn about different cultures. 2: Participate in the Expo 2020 Young Innovators programme that involves showcasing every single student’s idea online to the world. The best ideas will be shortlisted by each school, and refined with the support of Expo 2020 Dubai, to be showcased at the Expo and/or Visitor Centre. 3: Give teachers the Expo 2020 Dubai learning resources to spark curiosity among students about the Expo. 4: Participate in the Next Gen World Majlis at Expo 2020 where students can participate in the Expo 2020 Dubai’s global conversations on subjects that matter to humanity. 5: Encourage students to be an Expo 2020 Dubai Champion and raise awareness about the national project.

What will happen after the six months of the Expo?

More than 80 per cent 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. District 2020 will have these and other assets of the Expo. It will become the city of the future, a home for innovators, families, artists and pioneers. The handover date of District 2020 will be October 2021.
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