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Your Ultimate Guide to Expo 2020 Dubai

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Expo 2020 Dubai has been more than just a buzzword in the UAE for years now – eight years, in fact, ever since Dubai’s bid won over the World Expo appointment panel in Paris in 2013.

But with the opening curtain to the world’s greatest show now being hoisted aloft, some are still scratching their heads trying to work out exactly what lies in store.

So, if you aren’t yet acquainted, we’ve pulled together a quick guide to what Expo 2020 is all about. You better get familiar soon, the eyes of the world are on Dubai.

What is Expo 2020 Dubai?
Expo 2020 is the latest edition in a bulging catalog of World Expos held around the planet.

The World Expo series has been running since 1851 when the first event – then called the Great Exhibition – took place in London in the UK.

Shows represent a global gathering of nations dedicated to creating solutions to the most pressing matters of the day, engaging with visitors – who often flock in their millions to attend – via engaging, immersive, and interactive activities.

The Dubai installment will be the first-ever to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, underlining the UAE’s place at the forefront of discussions that are shaping how we harness the potential of and engage with, the living world, as well as our impact on it.

Organizers estimate that 25million visitors will arrive in Dubai during Expo 2020’s six-month run.

Shouldn’t Expo 2020 Dubai have been last year?
Don’t let the name fool you, Expo 2020 is kicking off right now, and extends well into 2022. Opening night is October 1, 2021, with the show running through to March 31 2022.

The party was due to kick off in October last year, but the global health pandemic forced organizers to delay by a year in the interest of safety.

And all that means was extra time to pack out the program of events with enough magic to make the most clench-jawed old coot stand in gaped-mouth wonder.

What’s happening at Expo 2020 Dubai?
More than 190 countries will descend on Dubai in a worldwide sharing of culture and innovation.

Participating countries have been given the opportunity to set up shop at their very own pavilion to showcase how their nation is contributing to critical global debates on hotly-discussed issues.

Expo 2020 has three core themes – namely Sustainability, Mobility, and Opportunity – and these are explored in a variety of ways across three dedicated districts.

Terra – punctuated by the now iconic Sustainability Pavilion – is a playful, exploratory experience, where visitors will be guided on a trip through time, steadily introduced to the concept that change is a natural part of life.

As the trial concludes, and mankind is introduced into the equation, the messaging turns to how our impact has accelerated change beyond a sustainable pace.

The stimulating sensory journey – which treks under the ocean and through the rainforest in this instance – poses tough questions of guests via ongoing Q&A.

In some halls, visitors are asked tough ‘Would you rathers?’ concerning their own consumption of resources vs the impact that has on the natural world, for example: Would you give up your phone to save a rainforest you’d never see?

Importantly, data is collated and shared with guests via a scoreboard, allowing them to draw their own conclusions on the morality of the matter, and allows organizers to better understand audience attitudes in their pursuit of education around key issues.

A Laboratory of Future Values, meanwhile, features hydroponic gardens and dioramas showcasing sustainable living solutions.

Outside, traditional music and performances blend with more modern soundscapes in an open-air arena complete with stage and food and drink vendors.

The Mobility District and its pavilion shoulder responsibility for encouraging visitors to better connect with each other and explore new horizons at the forefront of human progress.

Installations and exhibitions seek to foster the foundations of a harmonious, global society where information, ideas and goods are exchanged faster than ever before.

And last but by no means least, the Opportunity District, resplendent with the third and final Expo 2020 pillar pavilion, holds significance as a place for people to connect across age, language and culture, to celebrate shared human experiences.

The overarching mission of the pavilion and the wider district is to inspire each and every member of the human race to be an agent of change, and to debunk the myth that the actions of one person can’t change the world.

What happens to the site after Expo 2020 Dubai?
Legacy goals are in place for large swathes of the site post-Expo 2020, with Terra earmarked to become a Science Centre at the show’s conclusion.

Those pavilions not rooted into permanent fixtures will be dismantled and the materials used in their creation recycled in future projects.

Participating countries were given a remit to exercise sustainable build methods for their national pavilions, supporting the overarching themes of Expo 2020.

What are the social distancing guidelines for Expo 2020 Dubai?
Social distancing guidelines will be in place, including mandatory mask-wearing at all times both indoors and outdoors. Visitors will be required to maintain a distance of at least two meters between each other. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the site, and guests are encouraged to use it frequently.

What other COVID rules are in place for Expo 2020 Dubai?
You won’t need to be fully vaccinated to attend Expo 2020 Dubai, but you will need to wear a mask while you explore all the wonders of the show, as we’ve already explained. Thermal cameras will be used to identify potential carriers of the virus to assist them as quickly as possible.

Click here to read an in-depth guide to the Expo 2020 Dubai COVID rules and regulations.

Can I book Expo 2020 Dubai tickets now?
You absolutely can. There are three tiers of tickets on sale: one-day tickets for Dhs95, multi-day passes offering entry for 30 consecutive days for Dhs195, and a season pass with unlimited entry for six months for Dhs495.

Tickets will give you access to all pavilions, events, and live performances, plus unlimited opportunities to enjoy the diverse entertainment programme. There will be up to 60 live events each day with world-class music, dance, and art.

Children under the age of 18 and students holding a valid student ID from any academic institution in the world will be given free entry. Free tickets will also be available for people of determination, with their companion receiving a 50 percent discount as well. Visitors aged 60 and older can also enter for free.

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