Expo 2020 Dubai Finally Begins: Here's Everything You Need To Know

This is the first world expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia in 170 years!

Published On Oct 02, 2021 | Updated On Mar 08, 2024


Dubai has finally reopened its gates for tourists with the inauguration of Expo 2020, which began on October 1, 2021. The biggest event in the world, which was postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, will this year witness participation of 192 countries, including India.  As many as 25 million visitors are expected to attend the six-month-long mega event, according to media reports.

For more than 170 years, World Expos have been at the forefront of some of this world’s biggest innovations. Expo 2020 Dubai is considered as one of the most important ones as being the first Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. 

The United Arab Emirates won the bid for the expo in 2013 and over the next seven years, Dubai has been busy building infrastructure and setups for the 192 nations to come and showcase solutions for planet earth’s pressing challenges. 

Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. Each participating nation has a pavilion of its own where the focus is one of three pillars for Expo 2020—Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity. 

A one-of-a-kind pavilion at the expo has been dedicated to women entrepreneurs—a rare feat given that this is the first global-level event to do so. The pavilion is in collaboration with the luxury jewellery brand, Cartier.

Expo 2020 Dubai recently also released an exclusive video of an all-women Firdaus Orchestra, featuring music maestro and Oscar winner A.R. Rahman, along with 50 musicians from Arab countries. The event brings together people from 23 nationalities between the ages of 16 to 51 years.

Expo 2020 Dubai is also a carbon-neutral event, another astonishing accomplishment. Renewable energy systems have been built within the permanent buildings on the expo site that will provide renewable energy during and after the event. 

Apart from Salama, the Ghaf tree and siblings, Rashid and Latifa (the official mascots of Expo 2020 Dubai), each of the theme pavilions have super robots as their individual mascots. Alif is the guardian of the Mobility pavilion, Opti oversees the wellbeing of the Opportunity pavilion, Terra guards the Sustainability pavilion. These mascots are a way to make the mammoth Expo accessible to children. 

The India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will showcase a 360-degree digital creation of the country’s past, present, and future. The Pavilion reflects India’s commitment to the philosophy of Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu, which means, ‘May everyone, in the whole world, be happy’. More than 25 sectors, which include tourism, entertainment, Ayurveda, textiles, food and food processing, handicrafts and more, will be representing the latest innovations and opportunities. The India pavilion will also showcase over 100 movies, cultural performances, and authentic food and drinks from different parts of the country; narrate the 75-year-old journey of the world’s largest democracy.

The pavilion structure, itself, is divided into three floors. The first floor is an architectural marvel with projections and mirrors that present a kaleidoscope of India’s colours and cultural vibrance. The facade is made up of 600 individual blocks. By using kinetic architecture, a mosaic of rotating panels will showcase 75 stories about the history, and literature of the country over 26 weeks. The second floor of the pavilion bears witness to India’s bilateral partnership with the UAE and the plethora of opportunities that this partnership opens up. The third floor will open doors to ‘Corporate India’ and its growing prowess in various sectors.

Here are some of the key attractions to look out for at the expo:

  • Climate, space, travel and food-related programmes
  • Innovations in the world of artificial intelligence, air travel, and healthcare
  • Music concerts and stage shows
  • Sustainable menus, African delicacies, and futuristic culinary experiences
  • Art, craft, design, and Al Wasl Opera
  • Games, playing with whales, and 4D exhibitions

An October pass for the expo valid for visitors between 18 to 58 years will be on sale till October 15 for INR 2,019.99. Kids under 18 and senior citizens over the age of 60 are allowed free access.
You can also opt for a season pass for INR 10,525.23 that will allow unlimited entries for six months—i.e., from October 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022. Click here for further details on the passes.

Dubai is now accepting fully-vaccinated Indian travellers who have taken both jabs of Covishield or other WHO-approved vaccines. However, you must possess a negative RT-PCR test certificate taken within 48 hours of departure, a rapid PCR undertaken four hours before departure, and another RT-PCR test upon arrival in Dubai.

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