The Middle East's first-ever World Fair, Expo 2020, opened on Friday in Dubai. The event was postponed by a year due to the outbreak of the coronavirus last year.
The six-month-long exhibition offers Dubai a momentous opportunity to showcase its unique East-meets-West appeal as a place where all are welcome for business.
About 192 nations are represented at the expo, said the organisers. The US pavilion will showcase a replica of the Space X Falcon 9 rocket. Italy's pavilion houses a 3-D replica of Michelangelo's biblical hero, David, that is 17 feet high (5.2 meters). Other attractions include an African food hall, a royal Egyptian mummy, concerts and performances from around the world, and the option to dine on a USD 500 three-course meal with glow-in-the-dark cuisine.
The first World Fair held in the United States in 1876 debuted Alexander Graham Bell's telephone, the typewriter, a mechanical calculator and Heinz Ketchup. Held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that fair attracted nearly 10 million people at a time when the entire US population was estimated to be just 40 million. One of its main buildings, Memorial Hall, is now a museum.
Other fairs showcased inventions like the sewing machine, the elevator, carbonated soda, the Ferris wheel and, in 1939 in New York, the television.
It is unclear how many visitors Dubai can attract, and how much the expo will stimulate its tourism-driven economy. However, to enter the expo site, visitors will need to show a negative PCR test or proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Dubai's ruler and the force behind the emirate's transformation, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that Expo 2020 is a chance to showcase the best of human excellence.
“It offers a platform to forge a united worldwide effort to build a more sustainable and prosperous future for all of mankind,” he added during the the expo's opening ceremony.
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