Dubai Expo 2020 postponed to October 2021

Expo 2020 Dubai date change approved by Bureau International des Expositions

The postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai is set to be approved by the Bureau International des Expositions, with the change of dates having already surpassed the required two-thirds threshold.

Following a request from authorities in the United Arab Emirates to postpone the event in April, the international body put the matter to a vote.

The result has been expected toward the end of this month.

However, it appears support for the move is widespread.

Expo 2020 Dubai now appears set to take place from October 1st, 2021, running for six months to March 31st, 2022.

Organisers at Expo 2020 Dubai said the delay would allow the event to help shape a post-pandemic world.

A delay will allow all participants to safely navigate the impact of Covid-19, and permit the World Expo to focus on a collective desire for new thinking to identify solutions to some of the greatest challenges of our time.


Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum welcomed the decision to postpone Expo 2020

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai higher committee, said: “We welcome the decision of Bureau International des Expositions member states to support the delay Expo 2020 Dubai by one year.

“We are thankful to member states for their continued commitment to contributing to a World Expo in Dubai that will play a pivotal role in shaping our post-pandemic world at a time when it will be most needed.

“Over the last 50 years, we have sought to build bridges, connections, and partnerships around the world because we believe in genuine collaboration to safeguard the future of all.

“This swift and overwhelming vote reflects the strength of our international partnerships and truly reflects the positive role the United Arab Emirates and Dubai play with all countries around the world.”

He added: “This affirmation by the international community of Dubai’s offering and its ability to deliver, further strengthens our commitment to matching ambition with achievement to hosting an event that will capture the world’s imagination, when the time is right.”

With a Bureau International des Expositions General Assembly impossible to stage due to Covid-19 restrictions, member states voted remotely on the recommendation for a delay as proposed by the United Arab Emirates government at the beginning of April.

While the vote remains open until May 29th, the two-thirds threshold was surpassed within a week of voting opening.

Dimitri Kerkentzes, secretary general of the Bureau International des Expositions, said: “I applaud the swift response by Bureau International des Expositions member states.

“Their support for the postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai – which will be formally approved on May 29th – is a renewed sign of solidarity, and demonstrates the shared will to work together in ‘creating the future’.

“In their support for the one-year postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai, member states of the Bureau International des Expositions are giving the world the opportunity to reconvene in 2021, when together, we can address the challenges facing humanity and celebrate the unity and solidarity that strengthen us.

“With its theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, Expo 2020 Dubai will offer the world a unique platform to share the lessons, solutions and ideas for a better tomorrow.”

Expo 2020 Dubai retains its name and remains committed to hosting an exceptional event that will celebrate humanity’s resilience, creativity, culture and innovation – including major technological advances in the fields of medicine and science.

The first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and south-Asia region, and largest ever event to take place in the Arab world, Expo 2020 will welcome 192 countries, plus businesses, multilateral organisations and educational establishments.


Dimitri Kerkentzes, secretary general of the Bureau International des Expositions, has sought approval to move the event to 2021

Dubai Expo 2020 will connect nations, multinational corporations, non-government organisations and millions of visitors from all over the world, providing an opportunity to see future innovations, marvel at unique architecture, experience diverse cultures, taste cuisines from all over the world, and enjoy live performances, art and other entertainment.

Through its theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, and its three subthemes – opportunity, mobility and sustainability – Expo 2020 aims to unlock the potential of each visitor while encouraging collaboration and presenting opportunities for all to make a difference towards the future development of humanity and our planet.

Through numerous initiatives on the journey, such as Expo Live, the Expo School Programme, the World Majlis series and various business programmes, Expo 2020 is already making a significant impact in Dubai.

The event will provide a platform to foster creativity, innovation, and collaboration globally.

It is based on the belief that sharing innovative ideas and building partnerships will inspire the way we shape our future in the most positive way possible.

Expo 2020 Dubai will work towards enabling new opportunities for individuals and communities to help them achieve their needs and inspire them to pursue their future aspirations (aligning with the global vision of the United Nations sustainable development goals.

The event will focus on providing easier access to knowledge, markets and innovation by working on solutions and technologies that will facilitate the movement of people, goods and ideas.

The Expo site, which will cover a total of 438 hectares, is located in the Dubai South district, near the Al Maktoum International Airport.

The spatial organisation of the site embodies the Expo’s theme and subthemes, drawing inspiration from local urban design, architecture and the natural environment.

The site is designed to resemble three petals connected to Al Wasl Plaza, the iconic centrepiece named after the historic name for Dubai, meaning ‘the connection’.

The 150 metre-diameter plaza will feature a massive domed trellis that will also act as an immersive 360-degree projection surface.

It will also connect to the Dubai Metro Route 2020 link and the falcon-inspired UAE Pavilion.

The petals are Expo 2020’s three thematic districts – opportunity, mobility and sustainability.

The concept of sustainability has been integrated into the planning of the site and its use both during and after the Expo.

As well as strategies to optimise the sustainability of buildings and infrastructure, Expo 2020 Dubai aims to generate half of the site’s energy needs over the six-month duration from renewable sources, and half of this will be generated on the site itself.

All water used in irrigation and cooling will be recycled, and 90 per cent of the permanent construction material will be reused or repurposed in the aftermath of the Expo.

Concluding, Kerkentzes added: “Solidarity and unity have defined the work of the Bureau International des Expositions since the birth of our organisation.

“Expos are expressions of a collective engagement, bringing humanity together in a spirit of peace and cooperation.

More Information

As plans are put in place to push Expo 2020 into next year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Breaking Travel News caught up with Sumathi Ramanathan, director of destination marketing for the event, to find out what the delay might mean for hospitality in the Middle East.

Find out more about Expo 2020 Dubai on the official website.

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