What exactly is Expo 2021 Dubai?

Exactly one year from now Dubai will showcase the World’s Greatest Show.

Dubai: There’s just One Year to Go. One year till Dubai showcases the World’s Greatest Show.

Expo 2021 Dubai will be a celebration of human brilliance and achievement. It will be an opportunity for people to connect from different corners of the world, to experience the best of art, culture, geography, science, technology, innovation and invention and to set into motion millions of new thoughts and ideas that will make a lasting impact in our lives.

Throughout its history, the UAE has shown the world what is possible through its remarkable development. With Expo 2021 Dubai, Dubai will go a step further in inspiring the next generation to spark innovations that will underline the next 50 years of human progress.

Expo 2021 Dubai will be a celebration of the UAE Vision 2021 by supporting the growth of tourism, stimulating the development of innovative businesses in the UAE, and enhancing the country’s international reputation as a location to do business.

Frequently Asked Questions

Expo 2021 Dubai is a World Expo that’s going to be hosted by Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. A World Expo is a mega international event in terms of size, scale, and duration and visitor numbers.

It’s a festival and a platform where people from all over the world come together and connect with each other, share ideas, learn and innovate. It’s also a place you can come and have fun.

Expo 2021 Dubai is the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, and the first to be hosted by an Arab nation.

The Expo 2021 site spans 4.38 square kilometers and is located in the Dubai South district, close to Al Maktoum International Airport and within easy reach of Dubai International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport and Dubai and Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminals.

By car it will take you 40 minutes to reach the Expo site from Downtown Dubai.

You can also use the Dubai Metro. Expo 2021 will have its own dedicated Dubai Metro Station on the route 2021 line, with carriages capable to transporting 40,000 passengers per hour to and from the site.

Dates and times

  • Opening day: October 1, 2021
  • Closing day: March 31, 2022

Site opening hours

  • Weekdays: 9am-1am
  • Weekends and special days: 10am-2am

The first World Expo was London’s Great Exhibition of 1851. Since then World Expos have been held in many countries around the world organized around a theme that attempts to improve our knowledge in arts, culture, science and technology.

They are organized every five years and last for six months.

The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is the intergovernmental organisation that regulates and oversees World Expos, preserving the core values of education, innovation and cooperation on behalf of its 170 member states. It was founded in 1928.

The last Expo took place in 2015 in Milan. Its theme was ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’. It focused on nutrition and food. It was the second time the city hosted a World Expo, with the first being in 1906.

On November 27, 2013, the UAE was elected as the host country of World Expo 2021 during the 154th General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). This was the outcome of the voting of the 164 nation members. Dubai won by a resounding majority of 116 votes, leaving behind its contestant Yekaterinburg in Russia with only 47.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Seattle Space Needle, the typewriter, television and even Heinz Tomato Ketchup are some of the things that World Expos have given us.

Yes each Expo revolves around its own theme to leave a lasting impact on the path of human progress. Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

In March 2016, Expo 2021 Dubai revealed its new logo, which was inspired by a ring found at the Saroug Al Hadeed archaeological site.

Over six months more than 200 participants, including 192 countries, and millions of visitors, will come together to celebrate Expo 2020 Dubai.

Opportunity is unlocking the potential for individuals and communities to shape the future.

Mobility is to create smarter and more productive movement of people, goods and ideas, both physically and virtually.

Sustainability is respecting and living in balance with the world we inhabit.

At the heart of the Expo 2021 site will be the Al Wasl Plaza.

This will be focal point for the celebrations over the six months.

Historically, Dubai was called Al Wasl, or the “Connection”, because it connected people from all over the region. Visitors at Expo 2021 Dubai will gather at Al Wasl Plaza to enjoy celebrations and cultural events from 192 countries.

Based on the subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, there will be three thematic districts at the Expo site. Each thematic district will be anchored by a thematic pavilion, also based on the subthemes.

The thematic pavilions will house interactive exhibitions and engaging content to explore the themes in a fun and entertaining way. Each Thematic District will also include performance spaces, innovation galleries and art installations and outdoor gardens.

Yes the UAE will have its own pavilion that resembles a falcon in flight and is designed by Santiago Calatrava.

Site development at the physical Expo 2021 Dubai site began in March 2016.

Residents of Dubai are encouraged to join the journey to Expo 2020 through a variety of options — from Expo Live’s pioneering social projects helping communities around the globe, to the volunteers programme, which will see a diverse mix of 30,000 UAE residents and expats become the ‘face’ of the next World Expo. You can register for the volunteer programme here volunteers.ae/register.aspx

Earlier this year there have been community engagement programmes leading up to the event – for example ‘The World’s Greatest Show in the Making’ bus tours that ran over the summer

The Online Marketplace (OMP) is another great opportunity for SMEs, home businesses, and individuals in the UAE to network, advertise products and services, and compete for opportunities across borders.

Currently, there are more than 38,000 suppliers and buyers from 151 countries including the UAE registered. All tender opportunities related to Expo 2020 Dubai are now posted directly to the OMP.

Most importantly, you can contribute by attending the event and being part of the World’s Greatest Show.

There will be enough to delight and dazzle you at Expo 2021 Dubai. From art, music, gastronomy to technology, architecture and entertainment, a day is not enough for you to cherish the magic of the largest event ever held in the Arab world.

Start your day at the Al Wasl Plaza, where you get to see artwork and interactive installations from local and global talents. You can also go on an architectural adventure and marvel at the pavilions built on innovative and sustainable designs.

Imagine embarking on a journey where you end up visiting 192 different countries and learning all about their history and culture.

There will be more than 60 live shows each day, so everything from operas to pop-up theatres, flash mobs to sports events and even national day celebrations, there will be enough to keep you coming back.

For tech enthusiasts there will be opportunities to experience a truly connected world with autonomous vehicles, robotics, augmented reality and space explorations.

Expo 2021 will have food offerings as broad and diverse as the city of Dubai and the 190-plus participant nations that are joining this global mega event.

A visitor can expect to see food of all shapes and sizes and price points to suit different budgets. You can literally taste the world at Expo with cultural influences from around the planet. There will be around 200 different restaurants celebrating more than 50 different cuisines from around the world.

You can delight your taste buds from a range of options available here – from street fare to haute cuisine, as well as sustainable meals from locally-sourced produce that promote wellness.

Yes, the Expo site will have 45 water fountains (also called sabeels) where you can access potable water.

Yes, there are two parks – Al Forsan and Jubilee – where kids can play.

Two inquisitive Emirati kids called Latifa and Rashid will be the other main mascots along with a team of robots named Opti, Alif and Terra.

Expo 2020 Dubai souvenirs will be anything but ordinary. The first licensed products, all by GCC-based SMEs, are already available: Expo-inspired chocolate by Mirzam, camel soap by the Camel Soap Factory and Bateel dates.

Through the Expo 2020 Dubai Merchandising and Licensing programme, we will have on sale some 5,000 official licensed products from up to 70 Official Licensees.

The Expo 2020 Village will have participant and staff accommodation, warehousing, logistics, transport nodes, hotels, retail and a public park.

Visitors do not have a dress code. Any light casual and comfortable clothing is good for UAE’s sunny weather. However, during December and January, you might need a jumper or in a place that has a power air conditioning (for example, a cinema or a hotel lobby). Make sure you wear comfortable shoes.

Public dress codes in the UAE are are usually relaxed but it is still a good idea to respect the local culture. Avoid revealing clothing in malls and restaurants and make sure you cover your head when you enter places of worship.

You will be able to buy tickets through the Expo 2021 website, through a network of Authorised Ticket Resellers, contracted with Expo 2021, and at the Expo 2021 gates during the event.

A single-day adult (18 and over) ticket will cost Dh120 (USD 33), while a three-day pass, which can be used on any three days during the 173 days of the Expo, will be priced at Dh260 (USD 71).

Your ticket will give you access to a once-in-a-lifetime experience, including 60 live shows a day, future-shaping technologies, performances from world-famous artists, daily parades, cutting-edge architecture, special celebrations and more than 200 food and beverage outlets serving a world of cuisines.

There is free access for children aged five and under and seniors aged 65 and over.

Youth aged six to 17 and students of any age will receive 50 per cent discount, while people of determination will be granted complimentary access, with their carers entering for half price.

The Expo School Programme has been engaging with schools and students of the UAE in the build up to Expo 2021 and will be creating memorable journeys for them during the six-month event.

Here is what a school can do:

1: Bring its students to the Expo site and discover more about the UAE’s rich culture and heritage at the UAE pavilion, designed in the shape of a falcon in flight. Also visit the 92 country pavilions and learn about different cultures.

2: Participate in the Expo 2021 Young Innovators programme that involves showcasing every single student’s idea online to the world. The best ideas will be shortlisted by each school, and refined with the support of Expo 2021 Dubai, to be showcased at the Expo and/or Visitor Centre.

3: Give teachers the Expo 2021 Dubai learning resources to spark curiosity among students about the Expo.

4: Participate in the Next Gen World Majlis at Expo 2021 where students can participate in the Expo 2020 Dubai’s global conversations on subjects that matter to humanity.

5: Encourage students to be an Expo 2021 Dubai Champion and raise awareness about the national project.

More than 80 per cent of Expo 2021 Dubai’s infrastructure will have practical value long into the future as part of District 2021. For example, the Al Wasl Plaza will remain.

The sustainability pavilion will become Terra, the Children and Science Centre. The mobility pavilion will become a commercial building and the UAE pavilion will remain and will be managed by the UAE government. District 2021 will have these and other assets of the Expo.

It will become the city of the future, a home for innovators, families, artists and pioneers. The handover date of District 2021 will be October 2021.