Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: Expo 2020 Dubai has crossed the half-way mark, with almost 9 million visits during its first three months, organisers said on Tuesday.

Since opening on October 1, 2021, a total of 8,958,132 visits were recorded, boosted by events across the December 2021 festive season. More sport, music and cultural performances are expected in the second half of its total six-month run, which concludes on March 31.

Between October 1 and December 31, almost one third (30 per cent) of all visitors came from outside the UAE, with the top international visitor countries including India, Germany, France, the UK, the USA, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Almost half of all visits (47 per cent) have been generated by Expo’s Seasons Passes, with the number of repeat visits to Expo in the first three months reaching 3.5 million.

Many people also continue to travel to Expo using public transport. Between October 1 and end-December, almost 675,000 rides were made to and from the site using taxis, more than 1 million trips were made on the free Expo Rider bus service, and more than 3.4 million users entered and exited Expo via Dubai Metro.

Arqam performs at Jubilee Stage at Expo Image Credit: Expo 2020 Dubai

World leaders at Expo

From October to December 2021, Expo hosted a total of 8,902 government leaders, including ministers, presidents, prime ministers and heads of state – all speaking at numerous official events, including Expo National Days, which provide an opportunity to spotlight a nation’s culture, achievements, pavilion and event-time programming.

The Expo School Programme attracted 334,110 visits from private and public schools over 41 school days, representing around a third of the total student population in the UAE. The programme’s virtual series, Expo Adventures, saw visits soar to 3.9 million up to December 31 with students attending from more than 60 countries.

‘Safety top priority’

Reem Al Hashimy, Minister for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “We enter a new year having built solid friendships that will enable us to drive urgent action on some of the greatest challenges facing us all. Our latest figures are testament to the determination and hard work of everyone involved in Expo as we pass our half-way mark. And with the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone continuing to be of the highest priority, the numbers also reflect the strength of our ongoing stringent COVID-19 safety measures, which continue to protect visitors, staff and Expo participants alike.”

With just 87 days left, upcoming events include a visit from British boxing star Anthony Joshua on Wednesday to the first ever ‘Global Goals Week’ to be held outside New York later this month.

All Expo and International Participant staff, volunteers, contractors and service providers must be vaccinated, while visitors ages 18 and above must present proof of any vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours.