EXPO 2020 will open on 1 October in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Until 31 March 2022, 192 countries within three thematic quarters – Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunities – will present their business and investment offer. EXPO will be one of the first events of such scale after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is expected that the number of visitors will reach 25 million people. Latvia will organise 13 trade missions and a number of other events in its national pavilion, located in the EXPO Opportunities District.
Last weekend, around 20,000 visitors were invited to experience EXPO in test mode, to check whether it is ready to welcome everyone on 1 October. On 28 September, a symbolic opening also took place in the Latvian pavilion, but on 30 September, a special opening concert will be held with participation of ambassadors of all the member states and general commissioners of EXPO 2020. Numerous world-famous musicians will perform at the event: Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, British singer-songwriter Ellie Golding, world-famous Chinese pianist Lang Lang, four-time Grammy Award winner Angélique Kidjo, and others. You can catch the live broadcast on 30 September at 18:30 (UTC+3).
“When in Dubai, you cannot escape EXPO – a few days ago the EXPO anthem was premiered on the radio, information about current events is widely covered in daily news, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has cycled around the fair area on his bicycle, which was also covered by the media. Potential visitors are tempted by various special offers, for example, a monthly ticket can now be purchased cheaper than a one-day ticket. There is also activity and great excitement in the Latvian pavilion, as 10 employees of our Pavilion have arrived in Dubai to be our country’s representatives, ambassadors and guides for six months,” says Inga Ulmane, Head of the LIAA Representation Office in the UAE and Director of Latvian Pavilion at EXPO 2020.
The UAE is very proud of its extensive vaccination rate, which ranks it among the TOP 5 countries in the world. The UAE is fully prepared to host EXPO 2020 Dubai with strict Covid-19 safety measures in place, so the country pavilions will be open from 1 October, but the opening events will take place gradually over a longer period of time. Every day is a national day of a specific country, but the most intense period will be at the end of November and the beginning of December, when the UAE celebrates its 50th anniversary. It’s also when the National Day of Latvia is planned to take place on 27 November.
Latvia will be represented at EXPO 2020 in various formats by around 200 participants: 120 entrepreneurs will travel to Dubai to attend the world fair in person, 80 will participate online, and many more will participate in side events. Over six months, 13 trade missions will bring Latvian entrepreneurs to Dubai and Latvia will participate in eight trade fairs.
“Trade missions will allow our entrepreneurs to strengthen their existing contacts and build new ones. The UAE is not the largest country in the world, but it is a unique platform that connects Europe, Asia and Africa and brings our entrepreneurs together with potential partners, even from the United States and Australia. In the spring, a series of important events will be organised as part of Latvian Culture Days. We also cooperate with other pavilions and are active members of the Technology Thursday when countries help their IT companies connect with others. Latvian entrepreneurs and scientists will participate in the expert panels in the Space Week – 1 of the 10 thematic weeks. The competition is fierce, so we will only be able to keep the attention on us by showing professionalism and knowledge,” emphasises Inga Ulmane.
Dubai has been working hard to refine its virtual offering for people who will not attend the event in person. The website VirtualExpo.world provides full 360° navigation, allowing delegates to access educational materials and interviews, watch live streams and recordings, explore guided virtual tours, interact, etc. It will be possible to walk through all of the pavilions in the virtual tour, including the Latvian pavilion, starting from the second half of October.