The coronavirus-delayed Expo 2020 has opened in Dubai, with organisers aiming to stage the largest global gathering since the start of the pandemic.
Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, declared the Expo open at a ceremony yesterday evening that featured stars from across the world, including Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, British popstar Ellie Goulding and Chinese pianist Lang Lang.
More than 190 countries are showcasing their cultures and innovations inside architecturally striking pavilions on the 438-hectare site.
Dubai’s government has spent an estimated $7bn on the event.
It hopes to attract 25 million visitors over the next six months to boost tourism and investment in the emirate.
Organisers said they were “delighted” with ticket sales, but analysts believe they will struggle to meet the target because of the continuing restrictions on global travel.
Citizens of all countries can visit the United Arab Emirates if they are fully vaccinated with one of the World Health Organization-approved Covid-19 vaccines.
To get into the Expo itself, all those aged 18 and over will be required to show proof of a vaccination or a negative PCR test.
Free testing will be available to ticket-holders on site.