Expo 2020 Dubai, the Middle East’s first world fair, opened on Thursday with a glorious ceremony filled with fireworks, music, and messages on the power of global collaboration to create a more sustainable future.
The inaugural event featured Italian tenor singer Andrea Bocelli, British vocalist Ellie Goulding, Chinese pianist Lang Lang, and Saudi singer Mohammed Abdu.
Dubai, the region’s tourism, commerce, and business center, hopes to improve economic growth by luring 25 million business and tourist visitors to the world fair, built from the ground up on 4.3 square kilometers (1.7 square miles) of the desert.
To stimulate commerce and investment, numerous countries and businesses are also looking to the exhibition – the first big global event available to the public since the coronavirus outbreak.
After a year of delay due to the pandemic, the entire fair site will open its doors to exhibitors from nearly 200 countries on Friday. The event, chosen eight years ago to follow the 2015 Expo in Milan, Italy, cost approximately $6.8 billion.
Dubai says it wants the Expo, a showcase of culture, technology, and architecture-themed “Connecting Minds and Creating the Future,” to showcase inventiveness and a forum for addressing global issues such as climate change conflict and economic growth.
With so many events being aired live online, there’s a good chance the event will have to deal with a global dislike of travelling. However, Expo remains on track to attract more visitors than Milan and more than twice the population of the UAE.
“We are quite confident…that by being responsible in our management of the Covid situation but also our presentation of an exciting program for visitors, we will be able to thread the needle by opening up but remaining conservative and putting public safety first,” Reem Al Hashimy, Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai, told Reuters.
Although the Gulf state has eased most coronavirus restrictions, Expo demands visitors over 18 to wear face masks and be vaccinated against or test negative for Covid-19. Before the epidemic, the firm EY predicted that the Expo would generate 1.5 per cent of the UAE’s gross domestic product over its six-month duration.