When I was in Dubai back in 2016 the word on the street was very much ‘Expo 2020’. Plans were very much afoot and when we returned in the summer of 2018 it was clear to see a city rapidly gearing up for something INCREDIBLE.
I cannot imagine the devastation to all those involved when in 2020 covid enforced the brakes to bring everything a screeching halt.
Someone (who had never been to Dubai) said to be very recently “I’ve heard Dubai doesn’t have any soul” I can see why some people may feel that way as there is very little in the way of natural beauty, but trust me what it lacks in soul it makes up for in heart.
It’s a heart that is beating stronger and stronger in the Middle East and each time I visit (this is my 5th trip in 12 years) it just gets bigger and better. When Dubai says it’s going to deliver then boy does it deliver and the delayed Expo 2020 was well worth waiting for. It was far more expansive than I ever imagined spanning an area more than twice the size of Monaco!
Sponsored by technology giants Siemens, Expo 2020 finally opened its gates on 1st October 2021 and will run through to March 31st 2022. It’s easy to reach either by car, taxi or the newly extended metro which takes you directly into the exhibition centre.
We were fortunate, we flew London Heathrow to Dubai with Emirates Airline and the airline gave us a complimentary season ticket to Expo. Had I known that earlier I would have probably come out back in October to make the most of the season ticket because having just one day there was no way near enough time to even scratch the surface, In fact I spoke to a Dubai resident last night who said he has now spent a total of 25 days at Expo and still hasn’t seen it all!
After almost 2 years of lockdowns and travel restrictions, this expo brought the world back together, every corner of the globe represented with over 190 countries showcasing the very best of themselves through art, culture, technology, and trade – with an overall emphasis on sustainability, mobility and opportunity.
Getting into the exhibition park was relatively easy but once inside there were some large queues to get into some of the individual pavilions, although the Expo app does also allow you to fast pass some with pre-booked times.
Hard to believe that the Ferris Wheel and the Eiffel Tower previously made their first appearances at World Expo’s along with the Washing Machine, Microwave and mobile phones! It makes you wonder what will come next? Much of this expo was centred around human mobility; trains that ran on only compressed air, the latest aircraft technology along with plans for greener, healthier skies…and yes, flying cars!
We queued for around 35 minutes to get into the Australian pavilion, I really do loathe queues and Cameron does even more but it was definitely worth it to see Australia up close and real through modern technology, one viewing room with a huge domed planetarium ceiling telling the stories of the ancestor’s relationship with the stars.
Step into the next room, which I can only describe as being like standing in a huge empty swimming pool, when suddenly all 4 walls around you become high definition cinematic screens which take you right into the heart of the Great Barrier Reef
The architecture of each of the main pavilions is outstanding too, I can’t help thinking of the history of the Bedouins and how welcoming they were to strangers, along with the dreams of the founding fathers to see a very tangible manifestation of culture, imagination and the very best of humanity. Dubai is renowned for going above and beyond, forever highlighting what can be achieved with dreams, vision, belief, and dedication.
There was plenty to keep the children entertained too….
On writing this (Feb 2022) there is still around 6 weeks before Expo 2020 closes, if you get a chance to go then I would 100% recommend it..but you will definitely need more than one day! My only regret will only ever be than we didn’t allow ourselves extra time here to see more. For further information and tickets for Expo 2020, visit www.expo2020dubai.com
If you don’t get chance to visit Dubai before the end of March then there will still be the opportunity to visit the Museum of the Future (MOTF) which opened on 22nd February. Sadly we just missed this as we left Dubai on 19th February, however we did get to see it from the outside, that which is now billed as the most beautiful building in the world and I have to say that having seen it from the outside it is truly jaw dropping so I can’t wait to visit next time I am back in Dubai.
I’m excited to see what the future of Dubai holds, this emirate has come so far in the last 30 years, I cannot begin to imagine what it will produce in the next 30 years?
Every single person involved in bringing Expo 2020 to the world, both in vision and logistics should be highly commended, it’s really impossible to try and portray it in a blog as had to be seen to be believed, but if you want to start thinking about the next one then Expo 2025 will be hosted in Osaka, Japan from 3rd May – 23rd November. I am already adding it to my ‘to do’ list.