What we’ve learnt from Dubai Expo 2020

Three agency planners share their views on the legacy of this mammoth six-month expo.

[From left] Jack Morton MENA's Rebecca Amey, Pico Group's Jessie Ng and TECs Natalie Crampton share their insights on being part of Dubai Expo 2020.
[From left] Jack Morton MENA's Rebecca Amey, Pico Group's Jessie Ng and TECs Natalie Crampton share their insights on being part of Dubai Expo 2020.

Having welcomed more than 14 million visitors, Dubai Expo 2020, a World Expo, draws to a close at the end of March.

Three agency planners share their views on its legacy.

Rebecca Amey, Managing Director, Jack Morton MENA

“Meticulous planning and agility are what made Expo thrive throughout the pandemic – managing the changing rules and regulations with regards to aviation, Covid and visitor requirements.

“At the government level, this involved clear and quick communication of updates to policy and procedures, while at the event level, rapid testing for the workforce and Expo visitors was available, and visitors and event attendees felt safe.

"We worked with a diverse range of stakeholders and across a variety of activities and engagements, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Pavilion, the Emirates National Oil Company and Siemens. Our engagement included creative concept, design, experience design, and build for The Blueprint, Siemens’ Customer Experience Center.

"The Expo showed us that the desire for human connection and interaction is stronger than ever and that now, if you are hosting an event in person, you need a good reason. Content, messaging, and experiences must work harder to justify why attendees should travel."

Jessie Ng, Vice President, strategy and growth of global activation, Pico Group

"Expo 2020 Dubai was a mammoth achievement – Pico designed, built and operated some 20 national, corporate and thematic pavilions. These included national pavilions for Algeria, Brazil, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Malaysia, Malta, Peru and the United Kingdom, SAIC Motor at the China Pavilion, PTT at the Thailand Pavilion, the Dubai Cares Pavilion and more.

"It has paved the way for the re-emergence of large-scale events from ‘hibernation’ during the pandemic. The protocols, technologies and techniques it employed will be leveraged and further developed to make subsequent large-scale events ‘future ready’. This knowledge contributes to the general ongoing conversation around global healthcare infrastructure and prevention of future epidemics.

"The legacy will be a sense of unity and increased progress in fostering ‘future-proof’ communities and societies. After Expo 2020, the site will be transformed into a sustainable smart city called District 2020. Elements of Expo 2020, such as the thematic pavilions and site infrastructures, were designed and built in consideration of District 2020’s future plans."

Natalie Crampton, Director, TEC

"One year ago, we were six months away from Expo starting and we were all extremely nervous about whether or not it would happen. There were different lockdowns all over the world and we were really unsure if we were going to get the visitors into Dubai. Fast forward to the present time and it has been a massive success, the market is definitely booming here. The hotels were packed, with sky-high rates, the highest they have ever been and with events happening left, right and centre.

"The government in Dubai has been very cautious when it comes to health and safety around Covid, asking for vaccinations and PCR tests and we had to wear masks everywhere up until the beginning of March.

"Dubai Expo 2020 has been a saviour for the events industry. It has really given our sector the big push it needed post-pandemic. The legacy for Expo is very exciting, with the area being transformed into District 2020. It's great to see such innovation and technology staying within Dubai."

Latest News