Expo 2020 Dubai postponed to 2021 due to coronavirus

Multibillion-dollar innovation fair, largest to be held in Arab world, postponed by one year due to coronavirus.

    Dubai has spent billions of dollars on the world's fair, which was supposed to take place in October [Kamran Jebreili/AP]
    Dubai has spent billions of dollars on the world's fair, which was supposed to take place in October [Kamran Jebreili/AP]

    The Expo 2020 Dubai has been postponed by a year because of the coronavirus outbreak and will now be held from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, the Paris-based organiser said.

    The six-month, multibillion-dollar global innovation fair, set to be the largest such event ever staged in the Arab world, was expected to attract some 24 million visitors starting from October 20 this year.

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    But on Monday, a two-thirds majority of member states of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) voted in favour of a delay requested by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), saying in a statement the postponement "allows all participants to safely navigate the impact of COVID-19".

    "Expo 2020 Dubai is gearing up to help shape a post-pandemic world and create a better future for all," the bureau said.

    The delay "also allows the World Expo to focus on a collective desire for new thinking to identify solutions to some of the greatest challenges of our time."

    "We welcome the decision of BIE member states to support the delay Expo 2020 Dubai by one year," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, said.

    "We are thankful to member states for their continued commitment to contributing to a World Expo in Dubai that will play a pivotal role in shaping our post-pandemic world at a time when it will be most needed.

    "Over the last 50 years, we have sought to build bridges, connections, and partnerships around the world because we believe in genuine collaboration to safeguard the future of all," he added.

    Expo 2020 Dubai will retain its name, despite the one-year postponement to 2021, the organising committee said.

    It will remain "committed to hosting an exceptional event that will celebrate humanity's resilience, creativity, culture and innovation - including major technological advances in the fields of medicine and science", a statement on the event's website said.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies