DUBAI – Another week of extraordinary performances and visits by high-profile dignitaries, including His Royal Highness, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, has seen the number of weekly visits to Expo 2020 Dubai pass the one million mark for the first time since the site opened over 19 weeks ago, climbing to a total of 13,457,400 as of 14 February.

With six weeks to go, visitors have embraced the urgency of the ‘Now or never, before it’s gone forever’ mantra, attracted to the line-up of new venues unveiled, the ever-expanding list of sports and music stars confirmed to attend, and the rollcall of countries set to showcase their National Day celebrations over the coming weeks.

Among the highlights last week were UK National Day on 10 February, with His Royal Highness Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, attending the pageantry and welcomed by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Dubai Executive Council.

The Philippines celebrated its National Day the following day, which included a concert in Jubilee Park by Filipino American pop icon Bamboo, as well as a cultural performance by Daluyong ng Diwa, depicting the 4000-year history of the Filipino people.

Grammy-nominated South African DJ, producer and songwriter Black Coffee showcased Expo 2020 Dubai’s latest venue – the Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC) Arena – while musical ensemble Thaikkudam Bridge, and Bollywood superstar Ranbir Kapoor attracted thousands of Indian fans to the familiar surroundings of the Jubilee Stage last weekend.

International Day for Girls and Women in Science on 11 February saw the gathering of global female experts to discuss how to ensure gender equality and accessibility for all in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The expert panel discussion included addresses by Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology, Chair of the UAE Space Agency and the Emirates Scientists Council, and the Deputy Project Manager of the Emirates Mars Mission and Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, former UAE Minister of State for Tolerance, former Minister of State for International Cooperation and former Minister of Economy and Planning. L’Oréal and UNESCO honoured 14 women from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for their remarkable discoveries in STEM.

Global leadership icon and former CEO and Chairman of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi joined Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai for ‘Global Leadership: Work, Family, and our Future’, an Emirates Festival of Literature panel discussion that showed how women’s education was essential to grow economies.

The half-term break has also brought many families to the site, with the launch of family-friendly shows and a raft of activities and workshops for kids dotted around the site.

Expo 2020 Dubai’s virtual visitation numbers reached more than 121 million, but this is set to soar even further with tonight’s highly anticipated performance by global superstars Coldplay. The British band prides itself on its commitment to the environment and, with the UAE becoming the first country in the region to announce a Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, Coldplay will show its support of Expo’s Programme for People and Planet and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by performing at Al Wasl Plaza.

Almost 10,000 bookings have been allocated for the inner and outer gardens of Al Wasl Plaza, with extra outdoor screens made available across the Expo site and a further 4,000-plus bookings in the DEC Arena to address the monumental interest from the general public.

As the days tick down until the Expo 2020 Dubai gates close for the last time on 31 March, visitors are quickly running out of time to experience the rich and meaningful experience of the first World Expo ever held in the Middle East and Africa, including varied pavilions, breathtaking visual displays and world-class concerts, not to mention still-to-come National Day celebrations including the USA, Argentina, India, Jamaica, South Africa and Ireland; Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods Week and International Women’s Day.

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