Visitors move through different pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai. Kamal Kassim, Gulf Today
Staff Reporter, Gulf Today
Expo 2020 Dubai visit numbers have increased significantly to a total of 7,167,591 visits in the period up to 20th December, as organisers continue to maintain robust COVID-19 measures, ensuring a safe and exceptional event for all attending.
Expo 2020’s virtual visitation rose to 31.6 million over the same period, mainly driven by the uptake of Live@Expo, which enables visitors to take a bespoke live virtual tour through the site.
The largest major global event to be held since the start of the pandemic, Expo 2020’s latest COVID-19 measures include the expansion of the number of on-site PCR testing facilities to four, and free testing for all Country Pavilion staff. While all frontline workers and entertainers continue to be tested on a regular basis, some close contact events, such as parades and roving entertainers, have been temporarily suspended as a short-term precautionary measure.
With more than 90 percent of the UAE population fully vaccinated, Expo 2020 Dubai has required mandatory vaccination and boosters of all Expo and International Participant staff, volunteers, contractors and service providers. Visitors ages 18 and above are required to present proof of any vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours. In addition, Expo 2020 maintains on site sanitisation stations and mandatory face-masks both indoor and outdoor.
Among the latest activities, Expo 2020 Dubai was honoured to receive a great footballer and Expo Ambassador Lionel Messi; electrifying science show Brainiac Live and plenty more live entertainment, buoyed by enthusiastic uptake of the Expo 2020 Festive Pass.
Knowledge & Learning Week, the latest engrossing Theme Week under Expo’s Programme for People and Planet, presented a three-day global education summit, a number of World Majlis events, an interactive workshop-style event around experiential learning, and a Business Forum on harnessing and challenging today’s knowledge to better prepare for the future.
The seasonal spirit has been felt across the entire Expo site ahead of 25 December, with the unmissable Christmas tree at Al Wasl Plaza lit up in a special ceremony on 18 December, and all kinds of ongoing yuletide events, activities and shopping, plus a full menu of festive food and drink options, all delighting visitors.
Expo’s programme of live concerts during the next seven days glitters with a truly international cast, including Dina Stars and Apo & The Apostles (23rd December, Jubilee Park), Egyptian entertainer Tamer Hosny (23rd December, Jubilee Park), Grigoryan Chant and Naia Izumi (24th December, Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre), London Community Gospel Choir (24th and 25th December, Jubilee Park and Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre respectively), Lea Salonga (25th December, Jubilee Park), and Kazakh National Ballet (23rd December, Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre).
Meanwhile, Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, visited the pavilions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Kingdom, Pakistan and the Republic of Korea at Expo 2020 Dubai, and was briefed on the innovations on display.
Dr Al Jaber began his tour by visiting the Saudi Arabia Pavilion, the second largest pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, which is located in the “Opportunity District” under the slogan “Ambition Without Borders”.
The pavilion sheds light on the future of the Kingdom and the historic transformations it is now undergoing. Its design reflects the Kingdom’s heritage, its diverse present and its aspirations to build a prosperous future. It also introduces Expo visitors to its society and culture and their connection to deeply rooted Arab values and traditions.
The Minister’s next stop was Egypt Pavilion, with its innovative design that highlights the history and civilisation of the Nile Valley, spanning thousands of years up to the present day.
During his tour, he was briefed on the three-dimensional experience in which visitors learn about the history of ancient Egypt alongside the nation’s exciting, dynamic present, including its urban development and huge tourism projects.
He also listened to an explanation of the events hosted by the Egyptian pavilion, including workshops, discussion meetings, business meetings and cultural salons, as well as specialised exhibitions in archaeology, education and real estate investment.
Dr Al Jaber then visited the United Kingdom Pavilion, which is held under the slogan “Innovation for a Shared Future”, which highlights Britain’s contribution to changing the world and its support for solutions to global challenges.
He was briefed on the UK’s experience with innovation and on how it enhances collaborations with different parts of the world.
He then moved to Pakistan Pavilion, which offers a rich digital experience that progresses from ancient civilisations through to the modern era - a journey through time that showcases its ethnic and religious diversity, the richness of its traditions, its natural resources, and the economic potential of one of the world’s oldest civilisations.
He concluded the visit with the Korean pavilion, which ranks among the five largest pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai, under the theme, “Smart Korea Moves the World to You”, as it highlights South Korea’s engagement with the Fourth Industrial Revolution through artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the Internet of Things.
Kuwait Pavilion: The Kuwait Pavilion is gleaming, after achieving an impressive milestone, in welcoming the one-millionth visitor to the pavilion, after only 2.5 months since the inauguration of the world Expo 2020 event in Dubai on October 1st, 2021. At the Pavilion, visitors get to experience the history of a nation as it struggles with the harsh desert environment, while at the same time grappling with and finding sustainable solutions for the masses. It is a symbolic journey, a struggle if you like, through the naturally hot and arid desert climate of the northwestern area of the Arabian Gulf, and finding sustainable emblematic solutions along the way, showcased by the pavilion’s bold and sometimes dramatic architecture.
Kuwait’s participation at Expo 2020 is under the thematic title ‘New Kuwait: New opportunities for sustainability’. The most important message for the pavilion is ‘water’ as a resource and ensuring its future sustainability. This is emphasized by the huge water tower that begins at the center of the pavilion and stretches upward all the way to the roof, mimicking the real water towers, which are in fact emergency water reservoirs, found in many Kuwaiti cities. Water is the ‘source of life’ and without water, there would be no life, hence the sustainability of the water resource is the strongest message being delivered at the Kuwait pavilion.
The exterior façade of the pavilion mimics the desert sand dunes both in color and shape. The triangular features of the façade also mimic the sails found on the old traditional dhows that were used to generate income before oil was discovered. Kuwaitis harvested the precious pearls from the sea, and embarked on long dangerous journeys to trade goods with the Far East. The Kuwait pavilion takes visitors on a journey through the country’s past and present achievements, with previews and glimpses into the nation’s future vision.
Dr. Bader Al-Enezi, the Director of the Kuwait Pavilion, said: “We are proud that visitors at Expo 2020 are attracted to the Kuwait pavilion and are visiting us in such large numbers. This is a clear indication that the people behind all this work, the different committees and teams that have created the pavilion, have done an incredible job that we can all be proud of. This is also a clear indication of how successful our brothers and sisters in the UAE, the Expo organizers have been, in preparing the infrastructure for this important world event. An event such as this underscores the importance of bringing people together and exchanging ideas so we can work towards building a better future together. We are looking forward towards receiving more such traffic at the Kuwait Pavilion, especially as the holiday season approaches.”
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