Expo 2020 Dubai: One month on, crowds get bigger as visitors keep coming back

Many have to wait in pavilion lines for nearly an hour during weekends.

Photo by Shihab
Photo by Shihab

Anjana Sankar

Published: Sun 31 Oct 2021, 7:12 PM

Last updated: Sun 31 Oct 2021, 7:14 PM

A month since Expo 2020 opened to the world on October 1, the mega event is still winning hearts.

With the weather getting cooler, queues are growing longer in front of many country pavilions. Residents and tourists alike say they cannot get enough of the Expo.

“I have already visited the Expo four times. And I still haven’t seen even 20 per cent of it,” said Dubai resident Allam Khan, who hails from Pakistan.

A sales manager who loves exploring countries and cultures, Khan said Expo 2020 gave him the opportunity to ‘see the world’.

“My favourite is the waterfall. It is so relaxing. I want to go and watch it every day,” he said.

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Dubai couple Dina Habib and Karim have taken their two-year-old daughter Nina Alexandra to the mega event twice.

“We absolutely love it. We have extended our ticket to be able to go for six whole months as a family. We have visited the pavilions of Spain, Italy, Brazil, Czech Republic and Egypt so far, and they were all great,” Dina said.

“We bought Nina an Expo passport and have been stamping it. We plan to cover all 180 countries. We want to keep this passport so that when she gets older, she will be able to see that she has visited a one-of-a-kind event.”


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Nisha Ratnamma, a Sharjah resident and entrepreneur, said the Expo allowed her to embark on a world tour “without spending much time and money”.

“My son Nihal and I have so far visited 72 countries. We are eagerly waiting to get our Expo passports stamped from all countries. The best part is that we get to discover new cuisines,” Ratnamma said.

“We look forward to visiting the Expo again because the place is so lively. We get to experience something new each time. An evening at Al Wasl Dome is worth the long drive and I lose track of time watching the spectacular light show,” said Ratnamma from India.

The growing enthusiasm is evident from the visitor numbers and country pavilions.

In its first 10 days alone, Expo 2020 Dubai attracted more than 400,000 visits. And in just 24 days, it recorded nearly 1.5 million visits.

Yekaterie Pribytkova, director of international communications at the Russia Pavilion, said she is “proud and delighted” with the public’s response since the opening of the world fair.

“The response has exceeded our expectations. We are receiving great feedback from our visitors, as the Russia Pavilion presented a very creative and, in a way, unexpected exposition. The pavilion is already considered one of the most visited and has been claimed as ‘the most Instagrammable’ by a few media resources,” she said.

Paolo Glisenti, Italy’s Expo commissioner, said they have recorded ‘impressive’ visitor numbers, too.

“We are really proud of being among the most visited pavilions at the Expo, with 300,000 visitors in the first 30 days. Now, we have a daily average of 18,0000 visitors, in addition to the four million virtual participants worldwide on our social media,” Glisenti said.

The pavilions of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Singapore, Netherlands, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Palestine, Australia, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, and Israel have also been among the big crowd-pullers.

The biggest crowds are seen during the weekends, with visitors saying that waiting time in front of country pavilions could reach 50 minutes.

Residents say they just couldn’t miss such the once-in-a-lifetime Expo experience. The free concerts and shows are just a big bonus.

“I cannot think of any other place to got to over the coming months. At the Expo, the best of Dubai and the world is under one roof,” said Khan.

Expo 2020 — which is home to 190-plus pavilions, over 60 daily live events, 200-plus culinary options — will run until March 31 with a packed calendar of events, concerts, musicals and seminars.


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