Dubai’s Expo 2020 is set to be delayed by a whole year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision was made after two-thirds of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) Member States voted in favor of postponing the next World Expo this week in light of the ongoing crisis. Dubbed the “World’s Greatest Show,” the Expo is now slated to take place from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 in hopes of safely bringing together 192 countries and over 11 million overseas visitors after one of the biggest challenges in modern-day history.
The recommendation to postpone the event was first made by the Expo 2020 steering committee, comprising of officials from the UAE and foreign countries participating in the event, at a virtual meeting on March 30. On April 24, the BIE, which awards the mega event, began voting remotely to officially change the dates and have since surpassed the two-thirds majority required to postpone earlier this week. While the final decision has not been declared by the BIE as voting remains open until the end of the month, Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, secretary general of the BIE, confirmed the delay will be formally approved on May 29, “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.”
“We welcome the decision of BIE Member States to support the delay Expo 2020 Dubai by one year,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group, and Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee. “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.”
As the destination for the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region and the largest event to take place in the Arab world, Dubai is primed to set the stage after the pandemic for a better tomorrow in correlation with its theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.
“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,” continued His Highness. “This swift and overwhelming vote reflects the strength of our international partnerships and truly reflects the positive role the UAE and Dubai play with all countries around the world. 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.”
Nearly all countries in the world have restricted travel in order to curb the spread of the Covid-19 by closing borders and grounding flights in and out of them, leading to the cancelation of many major events around the world. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics was one of the first to be postponed to July 23 to August 8, 2021. The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode has officially canceled the upcoming men’s and couture fashion weeks scheduled to take place in Paris in June. Milan’s Camera Nazionale della Moda, which oversees Italian fashion, has also postponed the men’s shows which will now take place alongside the womenswear shows in September.
After the World Health Organization deemed the Novel Coronavirus a global “pandemic”, various disciplinary bodies across the UAE government began taking immediate action to ensure the safety of the local community and protect the public health of all its citizens. These measures include the suspension of flights to major destinations in countries across the world, and a nationwide disinfection program due to which the residents of the country have been urged to not leave their homes unless it is to get food, medicine or, for an emergency.