Expo 2020 Dubai, the first world exhibition in the Middle East, opens its doors to the public today, with Portugal returning to this type of event and the government hoping that participation will be a “success”.
Portugal’s participation in Expo Dubai, United Arab Emirates, means the “return of Portugal to a logic of systematic participation in international exhibitions,” Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said earlier this week.
“We expect that this participation will be a success,” the minister said at the presentation of the Portuguese programme at the world exhibition last Monday.
With the “Portugal, a world in a country”, the Portugal Pavilion has an area of 1,800 square metres, where there is no shortage of Portuguese pavement, cork chairs and lamps, tiles, a terrace with olive trees and a ‘concept store’, which aims to be a transactional ’embassy’ to promote Portuguese brands and products, with more than 170 products.
The pavilion, which has as inspiration a caravel, is a project resulting from the partnership between the Casais Group and the Saraiva + Associados studio and is located in the sustainability district of the Expo, one of the three thematic areas.
One of the highlights will be Portugal Day, which will take place on 14 January, with the hoisting of the flag and the national anthem and the musical performance of Teresa Salgueiro on the Al Wasl Plaza stage, as well as an official visit to the Pavilion of Portugal, where there will be a performance of the percussion group Retimbrar.
The musical and multimedia show Al Qantara will take place in the evening, with António Chaínho, Marta Pereira da Costa, Teresa Salgueiro, DJ Fred and Retimbrar on the Jubilee stage, from which the terrace of the Pavilion of Portugal has a privileged view.
The previous day, January 13, a business seminar will take place with the presence of Portuguese companies to promote business opportunities.
Between October 14 and 16, the Festival Lusofonia will take place, with Tito Paris, Marco Rodrigues, Sopa de Pedra and Danças Ocultas. On October 24, there will be performances by Pauliteiros de Miranda and Luísa Amaro.
Throughout the six months of the fair, there will be thematic weeks.
October will be dedicated to the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector and innovative start-ups.
There will also be a seminar and networking organised by the ANETIE and ANJE associations and the Yes Portugal Dubai promotional event, with meetings with local partners.
In November, the highlighted sector will be home & design. Companies and associations of this sector (AIMMP, APIMA, AIPI, Home From Portugal) will participate in displaying furniture, decorative objects and design products.
“According to the programme, there will be presentations of the home sector and lectures on Portuguese design.
In December, it will be fashion and jewellery’s turn. In the case of the former, a business mission is planned for the clothing and ready-to-wear sector, organised by ModaPortugal (ANIVEC and CENIT). There will also be a promotional showcase with the presence of Portuguese designers.
As for jewellery, there will be an exhibition of gold and silver pieces organised by the Portuguese Jewellery and Watchmakers Association (AORP), and filigree artisans will also be present.
Portugal will also participate in the ‘Golden Jubilee’, the 50th anniversary of the unification of the United Arab Emirates, which takes place on December 1 and 2.
The health & wellness, and security sectors will be in the spotlight in January. In February, it will be the turn of agri-food and the Alentejo and Ribatejo regions.
In March, the last month of the fair, Portugal will highlight the Madeira region and energy & environment and creative industries.
Expo Dubai, which ends on March 31 2022, is the first major mega event since the start of the pandemic, where 25 million visitors are expected.
It brings together more than 200 participants, including 192 countries and multilateral organisations, companies, and educational establishments, for 182 days.
Located in southern Dubai, the site covers 4.38 square kilometres, of which around two square kilometres is an enclosed area.
The “heart” of the Expo is Al Wasl Square (which means connection), with a 130-metre wide, 67.5-metre high dome, which encompasses a space of 724,000 cubic meters, according to data from the organisation. This corresponds to the volume of almost 300 Olympic swimming pools – and is taller than the Tower of Pisa.
The project has 13.6 kilometres of steel, the equivalent of the height of 16 Burj Khalifas (the world’s tallest tower at 828 metres, which is in Dubai), weighs 2,544 tonnes, the same as 25 blue whales and is almost as wide as two Airbus A380 planes lined up wing to wing.
Expo 2020’s three thematic areas of opportunity, mobility and sustainability are presented in the form of petals, which converge in Al Wasl Square.