EXPO 2020 as a trampoline to the UAE’ aviation recovery.

OCTOBER 2021

Expo 2020 Dubai, delayed from last year as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, is set to run over six months, starting on October 1, 2021.

This is the first event, exhibition of such scale to be held in the Middle East. 192 nations participate in the EXPO 2020 offering its own pavilions on site. It is also the largest global gathering held during the coronavirus pandemic, after the Tokyo Olympics, that took place in August, 2021 without spectators.

Over the past two years’ time, the UAE has demonstrated its potential in tackling the pandemic and earned safe for travel country reputation. Dubai has kept its doors open for the international travel since last summer and successfully controlled strict health and safety guidelines, guarding the country’s population against the spread of Covid-19. The country’s efficient vaccine rollout is a big part of this success story. About 93 percent of the UAE’s population is immunized as of end September, 2021.

Expo 2020 could be the best example of how returning to pre-COVID tourism in a safe environment can be done. Some moderate forecast across the hospitality industry suggests that occupancies across the main sub-markets of Dubai will range between 64% to 73% for the full year 2021.

Expo 2020 Dubai will drive the recovery of the country’s hospitality industry. The six-month long international event, is forecasted to attract 25 million visits. EXPO 2020 will bring a massive exposure to the UAE, Dubai, subsequent return of international travelers, nearing the end of the Covid-19 restricted tourism era.

According to the Private Aviation Federation in the Middle East and North Africa (MEPA), private airlines received the first requests for flights to “Expo 2020 Dubai” some months ago, revealing a healthy demand for private jet travel to this event. The private aviation industry is expected to benefit from the EXPO 2020 being a part of the luxury segment, especially for travelling VIP delegates and delegations.

Similar to previous EXPO fairs in other countries, high number of private flights is anticipated to land in Dubai. Trip planning companies, with ASM among them, facing strong demand for Flight Support Services in the coming months. Official delegations, private companies and businessmen who will visit Dubai during the exhibition period, are the key contributors to that demand. MEPA projects that the demand for private aviation and businessmen will witness the greatest growth during the period of the Expo 2020 Dubai exhibition in early October, 2021.

Dubai has all required facilities to accommodate rising demand for the private aviation. The aviation district of “Dubai, South”, Al Maktoum International Airport is dedicated to private aircraft, and has a large capacity to receive various types of jets. Dubai South shared earlier that private air traffic continued its growth during the current year 2021, achieving an increase of more than 346 percent in the first half of 2021, reaching 8,088 flights, compared to 1,811 flights in the first half of 2020, and 3,056 flights in the first half of 2019. The number of inbound and outbound Dubai private flights is expected to remain elevated after Expo is over.

The entire UAE and regional business aviation sector will benefit from Expo 2020, as well as the continued expansion of Dubai World Central. A significant number of high profile business people are expected to be welcomed in Dubai, for this event, bringing new business opportunities, tourism and business jet movements not only to Dubai, but Sharjah and Abu Dhabi as well.

The pandemic has created a precedent and displayed the unpredictable nature of life; the events of 2020 and 2021 have taught us that hope, flexible, positive and open-minded attitude can take the society at large to the next level of progress.

With vaccination rates growing world-wide, people get more and more positive about travel and Expo 2020 will be a fantastic opportunity to discover the UAE, ultimately serving as a trampoline to the UAE’ tourism and aviation recovery.