The Dubai’s Department of Tourism feels “very confident” to welcome visitors from all over the world to the Expo 2020 later this year.

The Expo was originally scheduled for October 20, 2020 – 10 April, 2021. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was rescheduled to this year – starting from October 1, 2021—March 31, 2022. Despite being postponed, organisers are keeping the name Expo 2020 for marketing and branding purposes.

In an interview with CNN, Helal Al Marri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing said that Dubai has a very clear plan on how to deal with the pandemic and will be ready to receive visitors for the Expo exhibition this year.

 “We feel very confident,” Al Marri told CNN.

Dubai is going to be ready to “make sure that the growth starts this summer and by Expo in the quarter four, we look to welcome the world”, he said.

The UAE witnessed a heavy spike I Covid-19 cases after more restrictions were eased in November last year. This spike forced Dubai to reintroduce curbs on hotels and air travel.

Here, Al Marri blamed the spike on lack of compliance. “When we had a 98 per cent to 99 per cent compliance, we didn’t see any spike. When that dropped by four to five percentage points, we saw numbers go up,” he told the CNN.

Al Marri also said that UAE had about 560,000 visitors in December which is a third of the usual numbers, according to the report.

Till February 4, the UAE has administered more than 4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines.

“Crossing the four million mark adds to the UAE’s track record and comes as part of the country’s keenness to provide vaccines to all members of the society,” said Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention.

Meanwhile, the Steering Committee of the College of Commissioners-General of Expo 2020 Dubai held its sixth meeting.

The virtual meeting gathered representatives of countries participating in the Expo, as well as the Secretary General of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, and representatives of the Expo Organiser including the Director of the Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy.

The members discussed a range of points regarding the preparations for Expo 2020 Dubai, including the advancement of pavilions, logistical matters, content programming, and health and safety measures etc. that are being taken during the preparation phase as well as those planned for the Expo period.

All participating countries and partners will have the opportunity to exchange on the advancement of Expo preparations during the next International Participants Meeting, which will be held in physical format in early May.

Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, the Secretary General of the BIE, indicated: “The UAE, Expo 2020 Dubai and all International Participants continue to make progress in preparing for an exceptional and safe World Expo that will inspire visitors and instil optimism in creating a better future. The smooth progress of preparations moving towards the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai on October 1 this year is the result of continual and positive dialogue between the BIE, its Member States and the Expo Organiser.”

Reem Al Hashemy, said: “The UAE’s commitment to delivering a safe, responsible and exceptional Expo continues to be inspired by our partners, the BIE and the International Participants who are preparing for opening day, at pace. We are witnessing not only their pavilions taking shape but also their programme plans which we aspire will be a turning point for the international collaboration on issues of global priority.”

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