On 1 October 2020, Franz Fayot, Minister of Economy, and Maggy Nagel, Commissioner General of the Luxembourg Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, presented an update on Luxembourg's participation in the World Expo 2020 in Dubai, the official start of which has been postponed by exactly one year.
Expo 2020 Dubai, one of the largest world exhibitions ever held, will begin in exactly one year, on October 1, 2021, and will end on March 31, 2022. Given the impact of COVID-19, the dates, scheduled for 2020, have been postponed in order to protect the health of workers and visitors. This postponement will also facilitate optimal conditions to prepare the exhibition, which will be held for the first time in the Middle East.
During the press conference, the Minister of the Economy first thanked the partners and sponsors. All the partners of the GIE Luxembourg @ Expo 2020 Dubai (Chamber of Commerce, SES and POST), as well as the sponsors (Arcelor Mittal, Cargolux, RAK porcelain, Guardian Glass, MCM Steel and ULT), decided to uphold their participation, despite the postponement of the Expo 2020 Dubai. The Minister congratulated the Board of Management of the GIE for their good management of the budget. Indeed, despite additional cost linked to the postponement, it appears that, under current circumstances, the initial budget limit of 32 million euros will not be exceeded. The Minister briefly reiterated the good economic relations that exist between Luxembourg and the United Arab Emirates that have been strengthened since 2011, thanks to the opening of the Embassy and a Luxembourg Trade & Investment Office (LTIO). Mostly focused on the world exhibition, bilateral economic relations also enabled an important trade mission in which 80 Luxembourgish companies participated in January 2020.
The Commissioner presented an update on the construction of the pavilion, which is moving forward despite very strict measures to protect the health of workers. The construction of the Luxembourg pavilion, which is now 75% complete, will be finished at the beginning of next year. Work on the interior (scenography, shop, restaurant, etc) will continue throughout spring / summer 2021.
Preparation of the programme is also ongoing. Almost all the events planned for 2020 will be rescheduled to 2021. In this context, the projects undertaken together with several ministries are also upheld as well as the economic programme together with the Chamber of Commerce. A highlight will certainly be the Luxembourg Day, scheduled for 23rd January 2022, to which every Luxembourger is invited to visit the pavilion. During one day, Luxembourg will be the country of honour at the Expo, out of 190 countries, which have confirmed their participation. The goal is to raise awareness of Luxembourg and its multiple facets on the world stage.
The Commissioner also highlighted that 70% of the material used for construction will be reused or recycled at the end of the Expo. A large part of the interior components will make their way back to Luxembourg in order to be reused in the framework of the promotion of the Grand Duchy's brand image.
Finally, the Commissioner launched a call since several positions are still vacant in the on-site team in Dubai, among others, for volunteers welcoming the visitors at the pavilion. The positions are open to any person speaking Luxembourgish and English, motivated to work for free during one month. The organisers will cover the flight costs as well as accommodation and meal expenses.
In conclusion, the Minister stated: "Within one year, we can hope for a substantial decline of the pandemic. In that context, I hope that Dubai Expo 2020 will be a crucial venue at the end of the crisis for boosting trade and the global economy. The theme of the Expo 'Connecting Minds, Building the Future' is more topical than ever since it aims at bringing countries together to find solutions to the great global challenges of today".
Press release by the Ministry of the Economy and GIE Luxembourg @ Expo 2020 Dubai