After it had anticipated a postponement back in April, Expo 2020 Dubai has confirmed on Monday that the international event will take place a year from its original dates. The new schedule will see Expo 2020 take place in Dubai, the UAE, from Oct. 1, 2021 until March 31, 2022.
The name "Expo 2020 Dubai" will be retained despite the adjournment.
According to the announcement on the expo's website, such a delay will allow "all participants to safely navigate the impact of COVID-19" while allowing the World Expo "to focus on a collective desire for new thinking to identify solutions to some of the greatest challenges of our time."
A two-thirds majority of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) Member States, the intergovernmental organization in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos, voted in favor of the postponement. Votes are still open until May 29, though "the two-thirds threshold was surpassed within a week of voting opening on 24 April," which means no changes should further take place.
France declared its support of the decision and its desire to reinvent its pavilion - all participating countries in Expo 2020 Dubai are granted their own pavilion - to better suit today's global challenge of innovative eco-friendly and user-oriented mobility solutions, as reported by WAM, the UAE's news agency.
International reactions to the news were positive, especially coming from participating countries.
According to Arabian Business, Armenia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Finland, Egypt, Italy, Malawi, Maldives, and Uganda have all shared their support and ambition to make Expo 2020 Dubai a successful six-month long exhibition.
Dubai is the first Arab city to host a World Expo. In fact, the UAE is the first country among its Middle Eastern, African, and South Asian counterparts to host the international event.
The fair was first expected to host about 25 million visitors; that's nearly three times the population of the UAE. Dubai, the host city, was expected to attract 11 million foreign visitors to the world fair, organizers said in a 2019 interview. No new numbers have been shared regarding the anticipated influx of visitors.
At the start of 2020, the exhibition proved helpful in the boost of Dubai's declining real estate market, especially since officials were forecasting a spike in tourism to the vibrant city of Dubai during the expo.
According to the Knight Frank's annual Prime International Residential Index (PIRI) 2020, the emirate's annual rate of decline had decreased to -0.7 percent in 2019 in comparison with the worldwide annual average growth rate of 1.8 percent. Dubai's current predicament with residential properties - which is mainly due to oversupply - is predicted to continue getting worse but at a much slower rate than in 2019. The slow pace is attributed mainly to Expo 2020 Dubai and the execution of the five to 10-year investment visas in the UAE.
Experts were hopeful Expo 2020 would bring more life and investment to Dubai, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic paralyzed markets around the world. It remains unclear how the postponement will affect the real estate sector among many others.