The first world fair to be held in the Middle East, Expo 2020 Dubai, opened on Oct. 1st with a lavish ceremony of fireworks and music. There was also messaging about the power of global collaboration for a more sustainable future in an attempt to woo the world despite the pandemic.
Delayed a year by the virus, Expo 2020 has over 190 countries taking part in the event that will last six months. Dubai is the region’s tourism, trade and business hub. After spending $7 billion to build the expo site from scratch on 4.3 sq km of desert, organizers hope to boost Dubai's economy by attracting 25 million business and tourist visits to the world fair. However, this has also renewed long-standing criticisms of this skyscraper-studded sheikhdom built largely by low-paid workers where speech and assembly remain strictly controlled.