Expo 2020 Dubai to stay open for an extra hour in March - GulfToday

Expo 2020 Dubai to stay open for an extra hour in March


Picture used for illustrative purpose only.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Expo 2020 Dubai total visitation numbers reached 15,995,423 as of 28 February, as the Steering Committee of the College of Commissioner Generals of Expo 2020 Dubai last week endorsed a move to extend pavilion opening hours to 2300 GST, giving visitors even more time to enjoy the multitude of attractions on offer across the site during its final month.

With the Food, Agricultural & Livelihoods Week, the reactivation of Dubai school visits, a surge in repeat visitors, and an influx of international tourists, guests are embracing the ‘Now or Never’ mantra, and realising that with 30 days to go there is only a limited amount of time to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. As a result, half of visits in February were repeat visits and the penultimate month of Expo 2020 Dubai attracted a record 4.4 million visits, the highest monthly figure since the event opened on 1 October 2021.

Expo 2020 Dubai has also launched a special edition ‘white passport’ – a bespoke ‘thank you’ to all visitors who have 100 or more stamps on their yellow passports – another reason for guests to explore as many of the 200-plus pavilions as possible before doors close on 31 March.

Expo-Visitors-750 Visitors walk through different pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Constantly evolving, among the new venues at Expo 2020 Dubai are the Expo Sports Arena, which hosted a spectacular eight-hour Mauythai marathon and saw tennis icons John McEnroe and Caroline Wozniacki entertain fans in a series of exhibition matches; and DEC Arena, which launched the Expo 2020 Dubai Comedy Club and welcomed Bollywood superstar Salman Khan in ‘Da-bangg Tour Reloaded’.

Under a sky full of stars, global icons Coldplay thrilled the audience at Al Wasl Plaza, with thousands more fans watching around the site and the concert streamed online across the globe. In support of Expo 2020 Dubai’s Programme for People and Planet, and part of the exciting Infinite Nights Series, the never-before-seen show fused an incredible musical experience with a powerful environmental message.

From October 2021 to February 2022, Expo hosted more than 13,000 heads of state, presidents, prime ministers and ministers, including presidential visits this month from Tanzania, Cyprus, Uruguay, South Sudan, Turkey, and Kenya, with one of the highlights being His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, energetically taking to the stage at Al Wasl during his country’s colourful cultural display.

In February, a buzz of excitement filled the Expo site with the visit of His Royal Highness Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, who addressed the first Earthshot Prize Innovation Showcase, and met His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Dubai Executive Council.

The Philippines also celebrated its National Day, which included a concert in Jubilee Park by Filipino American pop icon Bamboo, with Moira dela Torre feeling the love during Expo’s Valentine’s Day celebrations, belting out her best-loved tunes to a delighted audience at Jubilee Stage.

 Huge crowds enjoy the activities at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The first World Expo in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region has restored hope to the global community and helped to generate a renewed sense of commitment to the event’s core themes of sustainability, mobility and opportunity. With over 28,000 events staged in the last five months, we have achieved more than we could have ever dreamed, but there is still much more to come and we encourage visitors to take this opportunity to embrace this unique chance to witness first hand everything Expo 2020 Dubai has to offer, before the gates close for the final time this month.”

Key speakers during the month of February included His Excellency Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism and Co-Chair of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC), who launched the first Global Tourism Resilience Day at Expo 2020 Dubai to help the industry to be better prepared for the future; and His Excellency Dr Benoit Thierry, Director of IFAD in West Africa who, speaking at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Food, Agriculture & Livelihoods Week, said IFAD will double its investment activities over the next 10 years to reach USD 3 billion.

Sports stars have also kept the site a hive of activity, with Czech cyclist Mathias Vacek winning Stage 6 of UAE Tour – which started and culminated at Expo 2020 Dubai; Manchester City eSports stars Shaun ‘Shellzz’ Springette and Ryan Pessoa joining gamers to battle it in the qualifying rounds of the Man City eCup; and footballing legend Didier Drogba, and pioneering women’s coach Iqra Ismail, meeting at Expo 2020 to encourage equality in sport.

With 28,397 events organised across the site since 1 October, and a slate of more world-class events and activities set for the final month before Expo 2020 Dubai closes on 31 March, ‘It’s Now or Never’ to be part of the most significant global gathering since the start of the pandemic.

Expo 2020 Dubai’s virtual visitation numbers have crossed 150 million, driven by the diverse entertainment available via Live@Expo as well as extensive coverage of Expo 2020 Dubai’s Programme for People and Planet. In addition, Expo 2020 Dubai’s constant focus on education has reaped rewards with one million downloads of Expo Minecraft, the top five most downloaded app in Minecraft worldwide.

With a site around four times the size of Dubai Mall and equivalent to 613 football pitches, and robust health and safety measures in place, Expo 2020 Dubai continues to inspire confidence among visitors, further boosted by the UAE consistently ranking highly in Bloomberg’s latest COVID Resilience Ranking.

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