Before it opened its gates, Expo 2020 Dubai was set to become a star.
As home to the world’s largest 360-degree projection surface, more than 90 unique pavilions and 200,000 sqm of LEED Gold and Platinum structures, the incredible architecture alone commanded attention.
However, as Expo 2020 Dubai looks set to have welcomed more than 20 million visitors in six months, it’s the next half century and beyond that will seal its place in the history books.
More than 80 percent of the Expo 2020 Dubai-built infrastructure will live on as the city of District 2020, a community for the future that will use state-of-the-art innovation, science and sustainability to create a cleaner, safer, healthier environment for residents.
Aside from its physical legacy, Expo 2020 Dubai has stimulated the potential of one of the world’s youngest and fastest-growing populations, and Dubai’s visionary leadership is championing its next generation of innovators – from budding scientists to big thinkers.
Over 2.7 million children have visited Expo since October 2021, 500,000 of which have been part of the Expo School Programme, which acts as a classroom in action.
In addition, there have been more than three million virtual visits to the school journeys and 1.3 million visits to the Expo School Programme website. Here, Expo Adventures offers an interactive journey for those up to the age of nine, where children can play on their own devices and enjoy experiences filled with incredible facts, animated stories and exciting games.
The virtual experiences challenge students to unleash their creativity and become positive agents of change, imagining innovative solutions to challenges and forming a new generation of leaders.
The latest Expo 2020 Dubai podcasts, talks, audio guides and 360-degree virtual tours are available through Virtual Expo for older students, while the Expo 2020 Dubai mobile app, for ages 13 and above, features mind-bending augmented-reality visualisations and quests to stimulate learning and encourage a lasting thirst for knowledge.
Elsewhere in the online world, virtual visitation numbers have reached 145 million with huge crowds tuning in to watch live acts such as Coldplay and the Black Eyed Peas in real-time.
Augmented experiences have allowed Expo 2020 to be present in several places, from virtual tours and treasure hunts to immersive 360-degree shows at Al Wasl Plaza. But from virtual experience arises very real change and the effects of Terra — The Sustainability Pavilion can already be measured.
The pavilion has already surpassed one million visitors in person and millions more online, educating future generations on how to better care for our planet.
And the message is hitting the mark, with 95 percent of visitors making a pledge towards positive change, with promises ranging from meat-free days to swapping cars for public transport.
Beyond the geographical borders of the UAE, Expo 2020 Dubai has provided a beacon of hope for millions, bringing together the international community in a show of resilience in uncertain times.
During the last six months, leaders and dignitaries from across the planet have attended Expo 2020 Dubai, helping to drive positive action and crucial collaboration between nations from across the world, and embodying the World Expo’s theme and purpose of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.
On visiting the Expo 2020 Dubai, His Excellency Wavel Ramkalawan, President of the Republic of Seychelles, said: “[Expo 2020 Dubai] is a beacon for global optimism, for responsible and sustainable world development, for nations standing together against adversity, for personal and collaborative creativity, for the unique beauty of human harmony and – most importantly – friendship, communication and recognition that – when it comes to determining a healthy future for planet Earth – we are all in this together, from the largest nation to the smallest.”
Perhaps most notably, Expo 2020 Dubai has shown what is possible when the world works together, a notion not overlooked by the United Nations.
Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations, attended the opening of Global Goals Week in January at Expo 2020 Dubai, the first time the event was held outside of the UN General Assembly.
“At a time when there is a dark cloud, you have presented a real vision for what we can do to recover better, for how the world can look beyond the UAE – beyond your neighbourhood – into this global community,” she said. “You’ve given hope and a sense of dignity to everyone that has participated in this Expo.”
The full extent of Expo 2020 Dubai’s legacy is still to come, but if the success of the last six months is anything to go by, the future looks brighter than ever.