Expo committee reviews, praises visitor numbers

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The committee commended COVID-19 management and mitigation on the Expo site and across the country, in order to deliver a pandemic-era event, reports Asian Lite News

The Steering Committee of the College of Commissioner Generals of Expo 2020 Dubai has held its first event-time meeting, where it applauded the UAE leadership and Expo organisers for the strong delivery and exceptional start to Expo 2020 Dubai.

The meeting of the committee, which represents Expo’s 192 participating nations, was attended by Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai and Dimitri Kerkentzes, Secretary General of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the governing body of World Expos.

Al Hashemy said: “We are already witnessing the potential for positive change that comes with gathering 192 nations in one place, in pursuit of partnership, impact and legacy. This is global cooperation to inspire life: an opportunity to learn more about one another, and ourselves, so that we might build a brighter tomorrow.”

Dimitri Kerkentzes, Secretary General of the BIE said: “The UAE, Expo 2020 Dubai and all International Participants are together delivering an exceptional experience for visitors from all over the world. I am delighted and reassured by the way in which the Organiser has hosted and managed the event so far, and I am excited by the huge promise of the weeks and months to come.”

Chaired by Manuel Salchli, Chair of the Expo 2020 Dubai Steering Committee and Commissioner General for Switzerland at Expo 2020, the committee which comprises Commissioners General from 34 countries, praised Expo 2020’s spectacular Opening Ceremony and congratulated the UAE and event organisers for a successful opening period, particularly in light of the challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Committee members stressed that the security and wellbeing of all visitors and participants remained the first responsibility, with everyone bearing a collective responsibility for ensuring safety.

Under revised measures, and in line with guidelines from the UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA), the Steering Committee commended Expo’s requirement of visitors to provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test. It has further supported the increase in Expo’s capacity to 80 per cent for indoor venues. Expo also strongly encourages visitors to maintain social distancing and continues to require the mandatory usage of masks indoors and outdoors.

Given the size of the Expo site, internal transportation for visitors and staff remains an important priority and efforts will intensify to guide visitors towards the People Mover system (Expo Explorer and buggies). Organisers and countries have also agreed that all buggies on the Expo site will be prioritised for those visitors in need in of transport assistance to facilitate movement across the site.

The committee will continue to review operational capabilities on the Expo site, and consider further enhancements to ensure that visitors from all over the world continue to explore and enjoy the Expo experience. It also confirmed that all visits, including representatives, delegations and guests of International Participants, as well as partners, volunteers and staff, would be included in attendance figures going forward.

Manuel Salchli, Chair of the Expo 2020 Dubai Steering Committee, said: “During the first month of Expo, we have witnessed an exceptional commitment by International Participants and the Organisers to offer a unique visitor experience through pavilion exhibitions, and through events and programmes. I am confident that in the months ahead, this international collaboration will serve to support International Participants’ objectives of nation branding and addressing global challenges.”

The committee recognised the success of the cultural events of countries celebrating their National Day at Expo, while the music and dance performances, which take place in the iconic Al Wasl Plaza at the heart of the site, were highlighted for bringing to life the Expo theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

It also commended the first two Theme Weeks to take place under Expo 2020 Dubai’s Programme for People and Planet. Climate and Biodiversity Week and Space Week were attended by more than 5,000 visitors, with global experts, political and business leaders, civil society activists and many others contributing to more than 40 events designed to address and find solutions to some of the most urgent problems of our time.

The committee commended COVID-19 management and mitigation on the Expo site and across the country, in order to deliver a pandemic-era event that is safe and secure for participants and visitors alike. The UAE has deployed one of the world’s fastest vaccination programmes, with more than 85 percent of the population having received two doses. Earlier this week, daily cases fell below 100 for the first time since the start of the outbreak.

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