Sunday, April 14, 2024

InPark exclusive: International participants in Dubai Expo 2020 share thoughts on the likely one-year postponement and the status of their pavilions

As recently reported by InPark, Expo 2020 Dubai will likely be postponed for one year and open in 2021 due to COVID-19. The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is taking an official vote on the matter.

Meanwhile, what’s going on at the Expo site, and how are participants responding to current conditions? We have learned that some construction is still going on, within new restrictions. Leaders of several national pavilions being developed for the expo shared information with InPark’s resident world expo specialist, Jim Ogul.

Daniel Sahr, Director, Luxembourg Pavilion

The BIE decision will be a very important next step. Currently we are analyzing the different scenarios in close partnership with our general contractor. For the time being we move on slowly and strictly, respecting all restrictions and regulations now in place regarding Coronavirus/Covid-19.

There is an impact on our program – mainly on supply chains and related to travel restrictions. Currently we will probably need more time to finalize our Pavilion.

Umaree Charnnarong, Director, Thailand EXPO2020 Dubai

The Thailand Pavilion is still going forward according to plan, with a Thai engineer supervising a local team in the UAE. At this time, the pavilion has already made progress of approximately 55% of the overall project. The foundation structure is 100% completed. The interior architecture and the process of engineering system are more than 40% complete.

The UAE government rules and regulations to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19 are extremely rigorous, and we have had to adjust to comply. There are numerous challenges to the original plan as a result, for instance in regard to the overall timeframe and overtime. However, our team is happy and willing to cooperate fully and give 100% support to the host. The priority is to keep everyone safe.


For the interior architecture and the exterior of the building, we mainly use local materials, with a minimal amount exported from Thailand. If the number of COVID cases continues to increase, there is a high chance that the next steps of our process will be affected, with the next steps of our process dependent on transportation and import.

Originally, we had planned for the interior to be finished by the end of August 2020. We are now considering adjusting the working time frame of the interior to start next year instead.

Not only the construction and interior plans, but also the operation and management plans of our pavilion are subject to postponement and adjustment – including a recruitment campaign for Thailand Pavilion staffs and performers. We believe that postponement of the Expo by one year will be a great benefit for all the participating countries. We remain committed to our vision to present Thailand Pavilion as a mesmerizing experience and to successfully create a remarkable event on the global stage.

Clayton Kimpton, New Zealand Commissioner-General to Expo 2020

We are currently continuing with construction under a Covid-19 regime, which will impact our construction program. I am not in a position to say much more at this point.

Dag Koppervik, Deputy Commissioner General / Project Director, Norway Expo 2020 Dubai at Innovation Norway

We still proceed toward the original opening date of October 20, 2020. Building activities are affected by strict measures, but we are able to continue as per now. If everything should come to a halt, we would like to have a weather-proof building at that time.

Jim Ogul
Jim Ogul
Since retiring from the US State Department in 2011 after a 30+ year career in world expos, James Ogul ([email protected]) has remained on the scene in an advisory and consulting role. He writes regularly for InPark Magazine about world’s fairs. See his free online book, Tales From the Expo.

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