Visitors on Ghaf Avenue, Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Expo 2020 Dubai visitor numbers have soared to 4,156,985, driven by strong take-up of the November Weekday Pass and a raft of sport, music and cultural events, organisers said on Monday.

Expo started on October 1 and concludes on March 31, 2022.

Sold-old events

Boosting the figures up to November 21 was the sold-out ‘Expo Run’ on November 19 – which saw 10,000 runners of all ages and abilities line up behind six Kenyan world champions for runs around the Expo site – and two performances by the all-female Firdaus Orchestra.

Pakistani playback singer, songwriter, composer and actor Atif Aslam thrilled audiences with his hit songs on November 17, while Expo’s ‘Tolerance and Inclusivity Week’ featured more than two dozen events, including the three-day Te Aratini Festival of Indigenous and Tribal Ideas, which was hosted by Aotearoa New Zealand and featured performers from the UAE, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Panama, Paraguay and the USA.

Weekday Pass

With more than 120,000 visitors taking advantage of the Dh45 November Weekday Pass offer, visit numbers are expected to keep growing strongly, with the final week of the month offering another varied line-up of talent and events.

School programme

The Expo School Programme, which has been welcoming school visits for 31 days, has attracted more than 200,000 pupils from private and public schools across the UAE. As part of the programme, students have enjoyed four dedicated school journeys around the Expo 2020 site, including themes such as The Legacy of the UAE, World of Opportunities, The Universe in Motion and The Sustainable Planet.

Student shows

The Expo Young Stars programme staged five performances at Al Wasl Stage, showcasing the best talent from performers from schools such as Jazz Rockers institute of Dance, The Philippine School, Just Dance Fine Art Training Center and The Indian High School. In addition, 50 lucky students, comprising 20 nationalities, opened the Expo gates on World Children’s Day on 20 November.

Ahead of World Children’s Day, 400 students representing the Emirates Schools Establishment formed a ‘100K’ sign near Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion to celebrate 100,000 public-school visits to Expo 2020 since the mega-event opened on October 1. The human installation was led by Jameela Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education.

Expo also joined forces with UNICEF and the Ministry of Community Development to celebrate World Children’s Day with a slate of youth-led festivities that culminated in a spectacular concert at Al Wasl Plaza, which included Lebanese singer Yara, UNICEF Regional Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa, who debuted We Want to Live, a new song about children.

Water Feature at Expo attracts children and grown-ups alike Image Credit: Supplied

Upcoming events

Topping the list of upcoming crowd-pleasers are two of the GCC’s biggest music stars: veteran Kuwaiti singer Abdulla Al Ruwaished and Egyptian singer, composer and poet Mohamed Hamaki. Al Ruwaished will perform popular ballads from his 40-year career on the Jubilee Stage on November 24, with festival favourite Hamaki presenting his pulsating rhythms and polished lyrics two days later on November 26.

Ireland’s Grammy Award-winning Riverdance continues its toe-tapping run throughout this month with performances on November 22 to 26, culminating with a Grand Finale performance on the Jubilee Stage at 7:30pm UAE time on November 27.

Monday’s free women-only yoga classes, set against the backdrop of Surreal, the Expo 2020 water feature, have proven so popular they are to be extended, while the FIDE World Chess Championship, which starts on November 24, is expected to attract strong interest from both players and the public, propelled by the success of the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit.

The championship – the highlight of the world chess calendar – will see Magnus Carlsen, the reigning world champion from Norway, defend his title against the winner of the Candidates Tournament, Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi, at Dubai Exhibition Centre.

Performers in Halloween costume interacting with visitors at Expo Image Credit: Supplied

Virtual visitors

Expo virtual visitation rose to an incredible 22 million over the same period, mainly driven by the uptake of Live@Expo, which enables visitors to take a bespoke live virtual tour through the site.