Visitors at the Expo 2020 Dubai. Kamal Kassim, Gulf Today
Staff Reporter, Gulf Today
The number of weekly visits to Expo 2020 Dubai has passed the one million mark for the first time since the site opened over 19 weeks ago, climbing to a total of 13.5 million.
Expo 2020 Dubai’s virtual visitation numbers reached more than 121 million, but this is set to soar even further with tonight’s highly anticipated performance by global superstars Coldplay.
The British band prides itself on its commitment to the environment and, with the UAE becoming the first country in the region to announce a Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, Coldplay will show its support of Expo’s Programme for People and Planet and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by performing at Al Wasl Plaza.
With six weeks to go, visitors have embraced the urgency of the ‘Now or never, before it’s gone forever’ mantra, attracted to the line-up of new venues unveiled, the ever-expanding list of sports and music stars confirmed to attend, and the rollcall of countries set to showcase their National Day celebrations over the coming weeks.
Among the highlights last week were UK National Day on 10th February, with Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, attending the pageantry. The Philippines celebrated its National Day the following day, which included a concert in Jubilee Park by Filipino American pop icon Bamboo, as well as a cultural performance by Daluyong ng Diwa, depicting the 4000-year history of the Filipino people.
Grammy-nominated South African DJ, producer and songwriter Black Coffee showcased Expo 2020 Dubai’s latest venue — the Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC) Arena – while musical ensemble Thaikkudam Bridge, and Bollywood superstar Ranbir Kapoor attracted thousands of Indian fans to the familiar surroundings of the Jubilee Stage last weekend.
International Day for Girls and Women in Science on 11th February saw the gathering of global female experts to discuss how to ensure gender equality and accessibility for all in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Global leadership icon and former CEO and Chairman of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi joined Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai for ‘Global Leadership: Work, Family, and our Future’, an Emirates Festival of Literature panel discussion that showed how women’s education was essential to grow economies.
The half-term break has also brought many families to the site, with the launch of family-friendly shows and a raft of activities and workshops for kids dotted around the site.
Almost 10,000 bookings have been allocated for the inner and outer gardens of Al Wasl Plaza, with extra outdoor screens made available across the Expo site and a further 4,000-plus bookings in the DEC Arena to address the monumental interest from the general public.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Bin Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, visited Belize Pavilion at the Opportunity District at Expo 2020 Dubai, where he was informed about its culture, historical landmarks and investment opportunities. That, in addition to the diverse cultures in Belize such as the Mayan, Garinago, Mestizo, Creole, and East Indian, as well as the investment opportunities in tourism, agricultural commercial business, and blue economy, among many others.
Mohamed Bin Hadi Al Hussaini stated that “Expo 2020 Dubai offers an exceptional opportunity for countries to highlight their uniqueness, civilisations and international business and investment opportunities to attract investors from various global markets. The world’s largest exhibition and cultural gathering supports tourism and exploring diverse cultures.”
During his visit, he was briefed on Belize Pavilion, which is known as the jewel of the Caribbean due to its unique features that reflect the historical and cultural diversity and touristic attractions of the country. His Excellency was also briefed on the digital mosaics that display the wonders of Belize, the country’s efforts in championing the sustainable use of biodiversity, and its approach in connecting and balancing investment with the future in mind.
Did you know that five billion people are expected to live in urban areas in 2030? How can cities continue to feed this urban population sustainably? These topics will be discussed during the Dutch Horticulture Days at the Netherlands Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai on Tuesday, 22nd February 2022. The event will bring together agrifood and horticulture experts from around the world. They will explore new ways to apply an integrated ecosystem approach to boost local food production. As natural resources become more scarce, important questions came to mind: how can we grow more food while minimizing carbon emissions? And how can we use water and energy resources much more efficiently?
Such questions are particularly relevant for countries in the Gulf region. High temperatures and limited arable land and natural water resources make producing food locally especially challenging. Nevertheless, governments in the Gulf region strive to make greater strides towards food security. Also to reduce dependency on food imports by increasing local food production.
Just like in the Gulf region, food security is a huge priority for the Netherlands. But such an immense task can only be realized through cooperation. The Dutch Horticultural Days offer a platform for governments, companies, and knowledge institutes to share experiences, expertise, and innovation. By pulling together, we can support megacities to become self-sufficient in food production.
Dutch horticulture has the knowledge, expertise, and technology to support countries and cities around the world to become more self-reliant in food production. Our innovative technology enables us to produce food efficiently and all year round. Even in the harshest climate conditions. We strive to create holistic solutions covering water, energy, and food – that can improve food production in regions with unfavorable climate conditions. This will help us to further ensure food security around the world. – Eric Egberts, CEO Dutch Greenhouse Delta.