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KT Exclusive: Expo 2020 Dubai tickets will be affordable to all, says top official

anjana@khaleejtimes.com Filed on May 18, 2021
Photo: AFP

They can be bought directly from the Expo 2020 Dubai website, through the mobile app or through agents, starting mid-July.


Expo 2020 Dubai tickets will be affordable and accessible to every single visitor, the exhibitions Senior Vice President for Sales told Khaleej Times on Monday.

“When the ticket prices and categories are announced mid-July, we want to ensure that they will be available, accessible and affordable for every single visitor,” Kailash Nagdev said in an exclusive interview.

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People can either buy tickets directly from the Expo 2020 Dubai website, through the mobile app or through agents, starting mid-July.

Nagdev perhaps has one of the toughest jobs in the world: to sell an international exhibition at a time when the world is fighting a killer pandemic. But the official says there is no better time for the world to flock to Dubai — the city that has rolled out a successful vaccination campaign is open for tourists again.

“To say that we are well vaccinated as a country makes my job very, very easy. Dubai has again opened as a destination, thanks to the agility of our leadership to evolve from this crisis,” Nagdev said.

However, Expo 2020 Dubai is not out of tune with what is happening around the world, he added, referring to the devastating second wave of Covid in some countries and the loss of lives and hardships people have suffered as a result.

Since the decision to postpone the Expo last year, Nagdev said most of the event's messaging is focused on safety measures. “When we temporarily opened the Sustainability pavilion to domestic audiences and received 100,000 visitors from all walks of life, safety was our top priority.”

Organisers made sure all bookings had time slots; there were thermal scanners, sanitisers, volunteers to ensure social distancing, and signage.

Hailing it as a big success, Nagdev said the health and safety measures were rated as the second highest factor, after the content of the pavilions, in a visitation survey conducted after the initial opening.

“During the Expo, we will make sure that every single staff member is vaccinated. We are also inviting international participant staff to get vaccinated.

He said the mass testing, successful vaccination campaign, and high health and safety standards followed by Dubai — plus the recent safety seal the emirate received from the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) — have boosted the travel industry’s confidence in Dubai.

Expo 2020 Dubai is being touted as a mega exhibition, expected to attract 25 million visits, when it opens in October this year. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Wednesday said the city is ready to welcome the world.

“The success of Expo after the Covid-19 pandemic is a success for the world as it raises optimism for the recovery of global economic and cultural activity,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Target markets

Nagdev said the top markets for Dubai tourism will remain the Expo’s top markets as well.

“Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries; Middle East and North African markets like Egypt and Jordan; Russia and CIS markets are also very strong. European markets, including UK, are also important, as vaccination rates are higher.”

But proximity markets like India and Pakistan are not doing well because of the ongoing flight suspensions. “Once travel restrictions are lifted, we will see interest,” he said.

Organisers have identified three crucial market segments to gauge travel intent — namely, leisure visitors, business travellers and youth.

The Expo has signed thousands of agreements and identified 2,500 travel agents, online travel companies, airlines and hotels as authorised ticket resellers.

“A lot of people are depending on travel agents to book and plan their journey to make sure the bookings are cancellable. By partnering with hotels and travel agents, we have contracted every single step of the visitor journey… whether you come through an online source, fly a particular airline or stay in a particular hotel… Every single point will have an Expo ticket,” he said.

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Bundle offers and package tours will also be on offer. Itineraries will be designed according to what the visitor needs. There will also be custom-made packages for families, business travellers, students, food connoisseurs, transit passengers or long-haul visitors.

“The aim is to make the event an incredible, unforgettable and safe experience for everyone. If there is one destination that people want to go this year, it is Expo 2020 Dubai," said the official. "It is your one ticket to the world. You buy one flight ticket, come to Expo and you get to experience 190 different countries. Which other destination can offer you that?”

author

Anjana Sankar

Anjana Sankar is a UAE-based journalist chasing global stories of conflict, migration and human rights. She has reported from the frontlines of the wars in Yemen and Syria and has extensively written on the refugee crisis in Bangladesh, Iraq and Europe. From interviewing Daesh militants to embedding with the UAE army in Yemen, and covering earthquakes, floods, terrorist attacks and elections, she has come out scathe-free from the most dangerous conflict zones of the world. Riding on over 14 years of experience, Anjana currently is an Assistant Editor with Khaleej Times and leads the reporting team. She often speaks about women empowerment on her Facebook page that has 40,000 plus followers.





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