Confirmed: Expo 2020 Dubai to be postponed by one year
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Expo 2020 Dubai has officially been postponed by one year, the governing body of World Expos has confirmed. Expo 2020 was set to begin on October 20, 2020, but will now begin on October 20, 2021, running until March 31, 2022. The event will retain the name of Expo 2020.
Dubai organisers confirmed at the end of March that they were seeking to postpone the world expo by one year, so as to allow the global tourism industry to recover from the impact of COVID-19. The governing body, the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), supported the decision but required a two-thirds majority vote from the (BIE) executive committee and the General Assembly. Despite voting remaining open until May 29, the two-thirds threshold has already been reached several weeks ahead of the deadline.
Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, Secretary General of the BIE, said: “I applaud the swift response by BIE Member States. Their support for the postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai – which will be formally approved on 29 May – 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 BIE 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.”
Dubai was awarded the 2020 world expo by the BIE in Paris in November 2013. Touted to be the largest event ever staged in the Arab world, Expo 2020 Dubai’s core theme centres around ‘connecting minds, creating the future’ with three main sub-themes; opportunity, mobility and sustainability. Construction of the Expo 2020 site is well underway in Dubai South, a district located a short drive from Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport. As well as housing architecturally striking thematic districts with a central pavilion for each of the sub-themes, the central Al Wasl Plaza and landscaped gardens, 192 countries had signed up to pavilions at Expo 2020, each designed to showcase that countries’ innovations and culture through interactive exhibits, restaurants and performances. A total of over 200 restaurants and 60 live shows were expected to entertain an estimated 25 million visitors across the six months.
Previous host cities of the global expo, which normally takes place every five years, have included Milan in 2015, Shanghai in 2010, Aichi in 2005 and Hanover in 2000. Osaka has already been awarded as the host city for Expo 2025.
The confirmation comes just over a month after it was announced that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics would be postponed, marking the first time the Olympics has been postponed during peacetime. Just a day before the postponement announcement, both Canada and Australia separately said they would not be sending their athletes to the international competition, which draws some 11,000 athletes from more than 200 countries. The U.S. Olympic committee and others also urged for postponement for health and safety reasons at the beginning of the week. The rescheduled Summer Olympics will now open on July 23, 2021, running until August 8.