UAE-wide festivities mark just one year to go until Expo 2020 - GulfToday

UAE-wide festivities mark just one year to go until Expo 2020


Even young visitors to the UAE entering through all Dubai international airports get their share of the GDRFA Expo2020 Dubai bookmarks.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Excitement for Expo 2020 Dubai is reaching new heights as the UAE prepares to celebrate One Year to Go across all seven emirates on Sunday, 20 October, with everyone invited to join in this jubilant moment with the nation. 

Events around the country, including live performances in Dubai from global superstar Mariah Carey and acclaimed Emirati singer and Expo 2020 Ambassador Hussain Al Jassmi, will provide a taster of what visitors can expect when the World’s Greatest Show opens its doors on 20 October 2020.

Expo 2020 will bring the world together, including more than 200 international participants and millions of people, in a spirit of celebration, collaboration and optimism for the future. For six months, all eyes will be on the UAE as it delivers an exceptional Expo that entertains, enlightens and unites. It will be the ‘be there’ moment of our time.

Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “As we mark One Year to Go until the UAE welcomes the world to Expo 2020, these spectacular nationwide celebrations will usher in the final leg of a historic journey and a major achievement not only for Dubai, but for the entire UAE.

Expo 2020 Dubai An artist's impression of the Expo 2020 site in Dubai.

“So far, 2019 has been the year of delivery and the Expo 2020 site has been transformed by the completion of key construction milestones such as the Thematic Districts and the crowning of Al Wasl dome. The next 12 months will see us put the finishing touches to ensure an exceptional World Expo.

“Our One Year to Go festivities offer a window into the once-in-a-lifetime celebration that awaits from 20 October 2020. They are an opportunity for us to look forward to this momentous occasion for our young, dynamic nation as we prepare to see our leadership’s vision burst into life at Expo 2020 Dubai.” 

Travellers to the UAE shall be receiving a three-shaded bookmark, marking the start of the year-long celebrations for the much-awaited Expo2020 Dubai scheduled for Oct.20, 2020 to April 10, 2021.

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A project of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai), the circulation of the bookmarks had began at all Dubai International Airports.

Even children were given bookmarks—in the burgundy tones of rosewood and auburn on the upper portion with the burst of the orange tint of amber on the lower part.

Saudi-Expo Saudi Arabia unveils the design of the pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai.

The travellers received one each upon the stamping of their passports at the airports immigration counters.

Simple in design, the bookmark carries the Expo 2020 Dubai logo on the upper deck and the “1 Year To Go To The World’s Greatest Show,” emblazoned, complete with the instruction to scan on “a special barcode,” encouraging the recipients to take interest and browse over the official Expo2020 Dubai website.

The entry of the bookmarks comes as on the evening of Oct.20, Sunday, much-admired Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi, the Expo2020 Dubai Brand Ambassador, and five-octave range diva Mariah Carey, noted for her whistling notes, officially open “The One Year To Go Celebration” outside Burj Khalifa within the Burj Park in Downtown Dubai. 

On Saturday, GDRFA-Dubai director general Maj. Gen. Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri said: “The countdown to Expo2020 Dubai has started and we are pleased to be part of this historic moment to host the first-ever extraordinary event in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.”

Expo 2020 Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed tours the Expo 2020 Dubai site.

“(The bookmarks) come as part of GDRFA-Dubai’s keenness to educate visitors of Dubai the importance of this event easily and smartly,” he also said.

‘You are important’

Additionally, at the GDRFA-Dubai’s “You are Important” forum that gathered its 800 frontliners, principally working at all its Customer Happiness lanes, Al Marri took the opportunity to remind them about their duties and responsibilities for the landmark world exposition in the Middle East: “We must be ready to convey a dignified image of our precious country to all visitors, and therefore Passport Control officers at Dubai International Airports, have a major role in shaping this good image to the UAE visitors.”

He called them “our sons and daughters in the GDRFA-Dubai” always going for excellence in their respective jobs.

“The department is keen to put the human element at the forefront of its priorities, believing that the employee’s happiness and comfort is reflected in his performance in the work, which is reflected in the happiness and satisfaction of the customers,” Al Marri said.

In reference to the GDRFA-Dubai bookmarks, he said: “We assure everyone that we are ready to receive visitors to the exhibition (estimated at over 25 million from all over the world as we are the frontliners) in receiving everyone who enters (our) country.”

Expo-2020-dome-750x500 Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum and Reem Al Hashimy pose near the Dome of the Expo 2020 Dubai.

Meanwhile, a total of 50,000 volunteers—university students and graduates, housewives, retirees, employees, and people of determination—had registered to help out in the 173-day events and activities of Expo2020 Dubai.  

American College of Dubai-General Education dean Dr Rex Bacarra said: “Part of the selection process was the alignment of the individual’s skills and strengths. I was asked whether I want to be a spokesperson for a certain Expo event or one of the facilitators in any of the numerous events.”

Expo2020 Dubai will be a celebration of the world and how it would be in the future as abstracted, planned and prepared for by the countries and governments participating, under the main theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”

So far, 192 country pavilions have been identified that include two from Germany, the other being from the German southern state of Baden-Wurttemberg on the border of France and Switzerland. These pavilions are situated in three geographical zones—Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity—of the 438-hectare Dubai Exhibition Centre, located on Lehbab Street near the Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai Investment Park and Jebel Ali Industrial Area.

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