Expo 2020 Dubai fireworks UAE National Day
Fireworks at Expo 2020 Dubai during UAE National Day celebrations Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Expo 2020 Dubai has seen 5,663,960 visits as of December 5, since it first opened on October 1. The recent figures were buoyed by the UAE’s Golden Jubilee festivities, as well as a raft of sport, music and cultural performances.

During October and November, a total of 5,383 government leaders, including ministers, presidents, prime ministers and heads of state, have graced the Expo site to speak at official events or celebrate their nation’s Expo National Day, with Expo hosting a total of 10,461 events in just the first two months.

During his visit last week, President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron, congratulated Expo 2020 Dubai for “organising this exhibition and making it a success”.

Six out of 10 visitors (57 per cent) now hold an Expo Season Pass, with the number of repeat visitors in the first two months reaching 1.2 million.

Reem Al Hashimy, Minister for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “We are delighted with the figures, and that so many people chose to celebrate such a momentous occasion, the UAE’s 50th National Day, with us here at Expo 2020 Dubai. Two months in, these numbers are a testament to the hard work of everyone involved in Expo, from the hosting of spectacular events that make people want to visit again and again, to the bringing together of global change-makers on a powerful platform for action and collaboration, and – crucially – to our robust COVID-19 measures, which allow us to accommodate such large numbers in a safe, reassuring manner.”

More than a quarter (28 per cent) of November visitors came from outside the UAE, with the top international visitor countries including India, France, Germany, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the UK.

School programme

The Expo School Programme has attracted nearly 250,000 pupils from private and public schools across the UAE who have participated in 10,000 dedicated school journeys encompassing The Legacy of the UAE; World of Opportunities; The Universe in Motion; and The Sustainable Planet, while more talented youngsters have delighted visitors from the stage, as part of Expo’s popular Young Stars and Rising Stars entertainment.

November saw some major crowd-pullers, including the end of Riverdance’s popular run; a spectacular performance from the Accademia Teatro alla Scala; award-winning Pakistani musician Javed Bashir; Egyptian singer Mohamed Hamaki; a KITE (K-Pop in the Emirates) concert and the opportunity to take part in a family fun run with sprint king Usain Bolt.

Recent highlights

Other highlights included the Golden Jubilee’s ‘Journey of the 50th’ – a show in Al Wasl dome about the UAE’s present and future – as well as the ‘The Boy and the Horse’, a 20-minute theatrical production that honoured His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice and President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Expo’s Programme for People and Planet in November continued to attract change-makers from around the world, with two of Expo 2020’s 10 Theme Weeks – Urban & Rural Development Week and Tolerance & Inclusivity Week – as well as a slate of festivities and activities to mark World Children’s Day, International Day of Persons with Disabilities and International Volunteer Day pulling in the crowds.

'Journey of the 50' show at Al Wasl Plaza at Expo 2020 Dubai
'Journey of the 50' show at Al Wasl Plaza at Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

New festive pass

Looking forward, numbers are expected to rise further as Expo’s new Dh95 Festive Pass, on sale until the end of December, gives access to Christmas festivities and more world-class performances, such as Grammy Award-winner Alicia Keys’ show at Al Wasl Plaza on December 10, Academy Award-winning composer and musician A.R. Rahman on the December 22 and Broadway superstar Lea Salonga on December 25.

In keeping with Expo’s sustainability aims, scores of people have travelled to the site using public transport. During October and November, around 455,000 rides were made to and from the site using taxis, more than 600,000 trips were made on the free Expo Rider bus service, and 2.2 million users entered and exited Expo via the Dubai Metro.

Expo 2020’s virtual visitation rose to a 25 million, driven by the uptake of Live@Expo, which enables visitors to take a live virtual tour through the site.