Massive footfall – GulfToday

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Picture used for illustrative purposes only.

Inayat-ur-Rahman, Business Editor

Expo 2020 Dubai has recorded 10,836,389 (10.9 million) visits as of  Jan.24, catalysed by a magical new musical from Indian stars Shekhar Kapur and A.R. Rahman, plus a series of high-profile events as part of the first Global Goals Week to be held outside of the United Nations in New York.

Across the Expo 2020 Dubai site, which is four times the size of Dubai Mall and spans the area of 613 football pitches, visitors have safely enjoyed the nearly 200 events being staged every day, thanks to stringent precautionary measures against COVID-19.

Why? The Musical — a mesmerising show by renowned filmmaker Shekhar Kapur and Academy and Grammy Award winner A.R. Rahman — opened at Al Wasl Plaza on January 20, featuring more than 100 performers, including Indian actor, dancer and comedian Jaaved Jaaferi. It will continue to wow audiences until 27 February, with performances in English, from Thursday-Sunday (except 4-5 February) at 2000 GST.

Global Goals Week, which ran from 15-22 January at Expo 2020 Dubai in association with the United Nations, proved similarly popular, with the site coming alive with post-it pledges and inspiring ‘to-do list’ activations, adding to the range of compelling forums and panel discussions.

The Theme Week advanced the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a blueprint to achieving a better, more sustainable future for all, tackling global challenges such as poverty, inequality, health and education, and climate change.

Expo 2020 Dubai continues to be committed to promoting the SDGs, providing a platform to create a positive impact for our collective future.

The headline attractions in the coming week are equally as impressive, including a hotly anticipated concert by pop-rap megastars Black Eyed Peas at Al Wasl Plaza on 25 January – the fourth show in Expo 2020 Dubai’s six-month Infinite Nights series. Expect popular hits and music from new album Translation from Los Angeles trio – will.i.am, Apl.de.Ap and Taboo.

With Expo 2020 Dubai set to close its gates for the final time on 31 March, visitors have only a few short weeks left to enjoy the site’s vast array of attractions. As part of the ‘It’s Now or Never, Only Until March 31’ marketing campaign, the Season Pass Finale ticket is available now for the amazing price of Dhs 195, with a huge variety of entertainment and dining options.

Visitors aged over 60 can now enjoy a number of enhanced services as part of the Senior Guests Programme. Open to any guest eligible for a free Expo Senior Citizen Pass, visitors can access dedicated priority parking spaces, use private buggies for up to five people for 90 minutes, gain fast-track entry to selected pavilions, and obtain a 30 percent discount on lunch at select restaurants across the site.

And for families, Expo 2020 Dubai’s Festival Garden is the perfect cool-weather hang-out, with a host of kids’ activities, music and entertainment. The venue is also hosting the Middle East’s first vegan food festival, running until the end of January.

Expo 2020 Dubai’s virtual visitation reached 72.5 million, driven by the range of entertainment available via [email protected], as well as extensive live coverage of the Global Goals Week sessions, which garnered 767,000 visitors across the planet. Health and safety remain a key priority, with stringent rules in place across the site. All Expo visitors ages 18 and above must show either proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test result taken within the previous 72 hours, while on-site measures include mask-wearing – indoors and outdoors – for visitors, staff and participants, and PCR testing facilities for Country Pavilion staff, frontline workers, and entertainers.

Expo 2020 Dubai runs until 31 March, inviting the world to join a global celebration that will help to shape a brighter, better future for everyone. ‘It’s Now or Never, Only Until March 31’.

Meanwhile, under the Senior Guests Programme, visitors aged over 60 can now pre-book certain services to enhance their Expo 2020 Dubai experience. Open to any guest eligible for a free Expo Senior Citizen Pass, visitors can gain access to a limited number of dedicated parking spaces within each district, a buggy drop-off to the Arrival Plaza, as well as private buggies for up to five people for 90 minutes, from 0900-1300 GST.

Extra services that guests can avail of under the programme are a meet-and-greet with a dedicated Senior Guest Concierge at the Arrival Plaza, a welcome pack that includes recommended journeys, based on particular themes, details of fast-track entry to selected pavilions, and a 30 per cent discount on lunch at select restaurants across the site.

The timing is a big blessing on Dubai to have a grand opening of Expo 2020. This opportunity has come after one and half years of lock down across the world due to the pandemic. The Expo is going to be a grand event. The whole world will have now a reason to visit Dubai. The world is now hailing the vision and courage demonstrated by the leadership of Dubai and the UAE at this special time facing all the challenges and turning the challenges as blessings. About 3 to 5 percent of people visiting Expo 2020 is expected revisiting Dubai or planning to make Dubai their residence post the Expo.

In 1851 the Crystal Palace was the centrepiece of London’s Great Exhibition – the first World Expo. It celebrated the man-made industrial wonders of a rapidly changing world. Architecture, contents and a theme, ‘Industry of All Nations’, were combined to create a big idea of nations meeting nations in shared technological and commercial progress. In more recent years, participants in World Expos, including governments, international organisations and companies, have gathered to find solutions to universal challenges and to promote their achievements, products, ideas, innovations, their national brand, and their nations as destinations for tourism, trade and investment.

World Expos are held under the auspices of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organisation responsible for overseeing and regulating international exhibitions (‘Expos’) and for fostering their core values of Education, Innovation and Cooperation. Today, four types of Expos are organised under the BIE’s auspices: World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.

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