World Expo 2020 in Dubai will be delayed by a year it was confirmed today (May 4), after weeks of speculation.The United Arab Emirates’ city has invested millions of dollars preparing for Expo 2020 with more than 100 hotels under construction.
Dubai was forecasting 25 million visits over the six months – 145,000 visits for every one of the 173 days the site is open. They expected 11 million visits by people living in the UAE and 14 million from overseas visitors.
The delay confirmation came today after a two-thirds majority of Bureau International des Expositions, BIE, Member States has already voted in favour of postponing until 2021.
The event will now run from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, a delay that “allows all participants to safely navigate the impact of COVID-19”. It also allows the World Expo to focus on a collective desire for new thinking to identify solutions to some of the greatest challenges of our time, said a report from the UAE state news agency WAM this morning.
H.H. 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, said: “We welcome the decision of BIE Member States to support the delay of 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.
“We have sought to build over the last 50 years 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 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.”
With a BIE General Assembly impossible to stage due to COVID-19 restrictions, Member States voted remotely on the BIE Executive Committee’s recommendation for a delay as proposed by the UAE Government at the beginning of April and recommended by the BIE Executive Committee on 21 April. While the vote remains open until 29 May, the two-thirds threshold was surpassed within a week of voting opening on 24 April.
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. 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.