The UAE government has formally proposed to reschedule till next year the staging of Expo 2020 Dubai, to allow for recovery from the difficult business conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic that has also affected participating countries.
The new dates proposed for the Expo would be 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, the Paris-headquartered intergovernmental organisation Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) announced. Expo 2020 was originally set to begin on 20 October 2020 and last till 10 April 2021.
The BIE's executive committee will meet virtually on 21 April to discuss the postponement. A final decision is expected in June when member states meet. A change of dates can only be made by a two-thirds majority vote of BIE member states.
BIE said the UAE government also requested approval to continue using "Expo 2020 Dubai" as the official name of the rescheduled event.
The request of the UAE government followed a meeting of the Expo 2020 Dubai Steering Committee on 30 March 2020.
Dubai had hoped to attract about 25m visitors to the six-month event, which costs billions of dollars to stage. But work has been largely halted across the 4.38 sq km Expo 2020 site in Dubai, as it has been with many projects, officials say. The government has imposed measures to control the spread of COVID-19 in the country, including suspending all passenger flights.
News of the proposed postponement of Expo 2020 follow the decision to defer the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games until next year. The Uefa Euro 2020 football tournament, which was due to be held in London, has also been deferred to June and July next year.
There are implications for insurers of a postponement of Expo 2020 but details are expected to emerge only after the rescheduled event takes place. Some bearings may be obtained from the 2020 Olympic Games. The postponement of the Games is likely to cost insurers much less than cancelling the Tokyo Games altogether, with a chance that some of those involved may not have policies specifically covering a postponement, industry sources told Reuters.
Expo 2020 would be the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia