x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Secrets of Dubai's expo plans revealed in bid dossier

Fireworks, concerts, water spectaculars and giant puppets, the Dubai Expo 2020 bid team has revealed the exciting details of their bid dossier.

Details of the UAE's planned bid for Expo 2020 have been revealed to the public for the first time. Pictured here is an artist's impression of Al Wasl Plaza - Oasis Fountain Day. Courtesy Dubai Expo 2020
Details of the UAE's planned bid for Expo 2020 have been revealed to the public for the first time. Pictured here is an artist's impression of Al Wasl Plaza - Oasis Fountain Day. Courtesy Dubai Expo 2020

DUBAI //Secret details of the UAE's plans to host Expo 2020 in Dubai can be revealed to the public for the first time.

The official Dubai Expo 2020 bid document was submitted to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), which supervises world expos, in December. It had previously been seen only by those involved in the bid and BIE officials, but now The National has had an opportunity to examine it.

The 623-page plan covers subjects ranging from the budget, transport and safety to the proposed locations of the toilets at the 438-hectare expo site at Jebel Ali. It also includes details of a spectacular entertainment programme.

If the country's bid to stage Expo 2020 is successful, one of the highlights of the entertainment programme will be a dazzling pageant showcasing the first 50 years of the UAE.

The specially scripted show would trace the country's roots back to Bedouin civilisations and combine dance and music with media, puppetry and special effects.

It is just one of a vast range of entertainment attractions set out. Others include concerts, water spectaculars, theatrical extravaganzas, giant-size puppet shows and firework displays. The entertainment would continue into the night, long after the expo pavilions closed at 10pm.

The dossier was produced internally by the bid team and is divided into 20 chapters with titles such as Merits of the City and Region, Designing and Using the Expo Site, Approach to Sustainability and The Legacy of Dubai Expo 2020.

The document is illustrated with photos, diagrams and artist's impressions showing how some areas of the site would look.

The task of the BIE team, which carried out an enquiry mission in the UAE in February, was to assess whether the plans it contains were feasible.

The section on entertainment contains a sample schedule for a single day that includes no fewer than 63 events, the first starting at 10.30am and the last - a show called One Thousand and One Arabian Lights- at 11.30pm.

The expo will coincide with the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the UAE. The dossier says of the Emirati spectacular: "In celebration of the UAE's Golden Jubilee, this performance showcases the richness and diversity of the UAE's heritage."

The site would be the central location for the anniversary celebrations over the course of the expo.

"A calendar of continuously changing shows and events will enhance the visitor experience," the plan says. "The entertainment will cater for all types of visitors, including those with special needs.

"The packed programme of performances - from theatre and dance to exciting speakers and large-scale spectaculars - offers a variety of options for world-class entertainment."

Parades will make their way through the site, and roving musicians, mime artists, comics stilt-walkers, acrobats and even flash mobs will appear.

Reem Al Hashimy, minister of state and managing director of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, said at the handover of the plans in December: "We have prepared a distinctive dossier to convey an authentic portrait of our nation and its vision to deliver an unforgettable World Expo in the UAE.

"I am confident that the bid dossier is a thorough piece of work and a deep portrayal of our capability to host such a mega-event on the eve of our 50th anniversary."

Peter Vine, the project co-ordinator for the UAE pavilions at previous expos, said a Dubai expo would be a focus for the anniversary celebrations.

Mr Vine, one of the few people to have read the entire dossier, said on the eve of the enquiry mission: "Dubai knows how to put on a party and that is going to be the biggest party ever.

"So in terms of celebrations and entertainment and fun and enjoyment it's all going to be happening, and the expo will add to it in a huge way."

Dubai is one of five cities bidding to host the Expo 2020 - the others are Ayutthaya in Thailand, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Yekaterinburg, Russia, and Izmir, Turkey. The winner will be named in November.

If Dubai's bid is successful the expo will run from October 2020 to April 2021 and will be the first world fair to be held in the Middle East.

csimpson@thenational.ae