Expo 2020, Dubai, UAE

Expo 2020 Dubai is going to be the first World Expo to be held in the MEASA (Middle East, Africa and South Asia) region and the first to be hosted by an Arab nation. That's historic on its own, but there's more to it. 

The expedition, which will take place over the course of six months starting this October, will be held at the Al Wasl Plaza, where the translucent 65-meter high dome, designed by leading architects of Chicago Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill, is situated. The dome houses the three thematic pavilions that are at the heart of Expo 2020.

Al Wasl means "connection" in English and is also the historical name for Dubai. The steel framework is the centerpiece of the site. 

Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming expo, which for now is still on schedule to launch in a few months: 

1. On track despite COVID-19

Many events around the world have been put to a halt due to the coronavirus outbreak that has infected hundreds of thousands of people globally.

If you're wondering whether Expo 2020 has been affected by the pandemic, it seems as though it is still on track for its October launch. 

"In common with other organizations, Expo 2020 Dubai is closely monitoring ongoing developments and taking sensible precautions to manage and mitigate the risk to all those involved in the Expo," a spokesman said in a statement, according to Reuters.

The spokesman added that planned preparations will be adjusted as needed. 

2. An expected 11 million foreign visitors; 25 million visitors in total

Between its opening day in October and its closing date in April 2021, it is expected that Expo 2020 will host about 25 million visitorsThat's nearly three times the population of the UAE.

Dubai is expected to attract 11 million foreign visitors to the Expo 2020 world fair, organizers said in a 2019 interview. If circumstances allow for this to be the case, the emirate's tourism sector will see a spike during that period. 

3. The size of the Expo 2020 site is MUCH bigger than that of Expo Milano 2015

The Expo 2020 Dubai site spans 4.38 square kilometers — four times the size of the Expo Milano 2015 site, which covered around 2.9 square kilometers of land.

The site is located in the Dubai South district, making it within reach of Dubai International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport, and Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminals. The site will even have its own metro station with the capacity to transport 36,000 passengers per hour. 

4. A lot happening

Expo 2020 Dubai

The Expo 2020 site will feature 192 different pavilions dedicated to countries from around the world. Attendees will lose track of what's going on considering there will be about 75 entertainment events hosted every single day. 

These include live performances, fashion shows, poetry slams, talks, screenings on the ceiling, and much more. Topics span a variety of categories; whatever comes to mind you will find at Expo 2020 Dubai. These include mindfulness sessions, innovation, technology, extreme sports, and robot workshops to name a few.

5. Driverless vehicles

Source: Expo 2020

A driverless vehicle is set to transport passengers at the Expo 2020 Dubai South site. Currently, a trial run for the autonomous electric vehicle is taking place to ensure safety and security for passengers. The trial is being handled by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in the emirate and is expected to last three months. It includes "testing autonomous technologies, ensuring high safety of individuals, and protecting surrounding properties," said Ahmed Bahrozyan, chief executive of RTA's Public Transport Agency.

The electric-powered vehicle being tested can run for up to 16 hours at the speed of 25 kph and can accommodate 15 people in one go. 

Expo 2020 is offering more electric vibes than you expect. The expedition will feature a first of its kind electric ambulanceThe vehicle has a semi-solar powered system that recharges the battery, too. 

The recent trial run is part of RTA's strategy to make 25 percent of trips in the emirate driverless by 2030.

6. It's paving the way for gender equality

A projection of how a building's terrace will look like at Expo 2020. Source: Expo 2020

The UAE has taken major steps to break down disparities between men and women and Expo 2020 is paving the way for this to happen. The latter is led by a female UAE minister and powered by a team that's half women. This shows just how the UAE is prioritizing women's leadership and working to guarantee men and women equal chances to participate. 

In 2018, the UAE passed a law mandating equal wages and salaries for men and women while also launching the "20 for 2020" initiative that's aimed at achieving 20 percent female representation on corporate boards across the country by the end of the year. While 20 percent is still far from parity, the timeline is impressive, especially for the Arab region. Expo 2020 Dubai will likely help the government to rally the UAE business community around the campaign.

7. Three themes

Through its theme "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future" and its three subthemes – Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability – Expo 2020 aims to unlock the potential of all visitors. 

The three main themes of Expo 2020 each have their own personal pavilion for visitors to thoroughly explore the ins and outs of these themes.

The sustainability district, for example, will honor its name with solar energy and water condensing trees occupying its surroundings. It will also provide attendees with the chance to discover global projects providing real-life solutions that help preserve the planet for upcoming generations. 

To live up to the theme of sustainability, crushed tires, reused construction material, and solar-panel trees are among a range of green alternatives across the Expo 2020 site.