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Expo 2020 Dubai site to be delivered this year

Expo 2020 Dubai site to be delivered this year
June 19, 2020

Despite the postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai until next year the event site remains on target for completion before the end of 2020.

The six-month world fair, a milestone for the United Arab Emirates, has cost US$8.2 billion to develop, but, because of the Coronavirus pandemic, has been postponed from October this year to October 2021.

Nonetheless, grappling with the complexities of rescheduling the event, the organisers are intent on delivering the main buildings of the Expo by the original start date.

Advising that a number of Expo pavilions have “reached a very final stage” in construction, Expo Chief Development and Delivery Officer, Ahmed Al Khatib told Arabian Business this week "of course, the impact of COVID-19 has affected the logistics and the processes of delivering some of the remaining works.

“(But) work continues and some of the pavilions have actually reached a very final stage. 2020 is the year of delivery.”

Before the Coronavirus pandemic, Dubai had hoped the largest event ever staged in the Arab world - billed as the ‘World's Greatest Show’ and showcasing dozens of pavilions among the 192 participating countries.’ - would attract some 25 million visitors.

Now, when complete, the 450 hectare site will be mothballed until its 2021 opening.

With a lavish promotional campaign featuring superstars such as Lionel Messi, Dubai hopes the Expo will be a lifeline for the property, tourism and trade sectors, after years of malaise in the region which has now been aggravated by the global coronavirus-induced slowdown.

Expo Chief Engagement Officer Manal AlBayat said the postponement approved in May by the governing Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) had no impact on the "commitment to deliver an Expo that inspires the world".

However, as the timeline stretches out, putting pressure on budgets, it has led to layoffs among staff that once thronged the air-conditioned temporary buildings on site.

Measures to contain the Coronavirus pandemic forced Dubai - which attracted 16.7 million visitors last year - to close its doors in March. It is aiming to reopen ahead of the start of the tourist season in September, when the summer heat dissipates.

Like the Tokyo Olympics, the Expo will be keeping its 2020 name and logo, which is emblazed on everything from billboards to aircraft.

Image: An aerial concept of the Expo precinct.

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29th May 2018 - Dubai spends US$42.5 billion on mega projects ahead of Expo 2020

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23rd June 2015 - UAE leisure sector to attract 45 million visitors by 2021

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