Destinations

“The world will soon return”: Abu Dhabi says city’s silence is a time for reflection

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism has released a message of hope, looking forward to the moment the emirate can welcome the world again.

In a stirring video released across its social media channels, the department called on the travelling public to use their own isolation as an opportunity for reflection.

It comes as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) enters the second week of its ban on domestic and international transit, and the extension of its closure of all cultural sites.

“Remember this silence, for it will not last long,” the Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism tweeted.

“Abu Dhabi’s gates will open once more, welcoming the world as we always have and always will.

“Here is the home of hope.”

Check it out for yourself below:

The UAE has shut its borders to slow the spread of COVID-19, with the country’s Ministry of Health having confirmed 814 cases of COVID-19 across the country and eight deaths.

Like much of the world, this has seen its cities and tourism destinations empty, with #stayhome spread across the country and its emirates’ social media accounts advising residents to play their part in fighting the deadly novel virus.

The country has suspended all arriving and departing passenger flights at airports for a renewable two weeks.

Expo 2020 backs proposal to delay event

Expo 2020 Masterplan – Night (Expo 2020 Dubai/The Walshe Group)

It comes as the organisers of Expo 2020 Dubai on Monday said they backed a proposal to postpone the major tourism event for a year, as countries prioritise fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We remain firm in our collective aim to deliver an Expo that is true to its time and to our shared, urgent priorities. But it is clear that this is not the right time,” Expo 2020 said in a statement.

“While everyone involved in Expo 2020 Dubai remains firmly committed, many countries have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and they have expressed a need to postpone Expo’s opening by one year, to enable them to overcome this challenge.

“In spirit of solidarity and unity, we support the proposal to explore a one-year postponement made by the Steering Committee at today’s meeting.”

A nearly six-month-long event showcasing world culture, business and technology through the pavilions of 192 countries, Expo 2020 was expected to draw 25 million visitors to Dubai and be a major economic boost for the emirate.

According to the organisers of the event, from 2013 to 2031, Expo 2020 and its legacy would have been likely to contribute AE$122.6 billion ($54.8 billion) gross value added (GVA) to the UAE’s economy.

In addition, AE$40.1 billion ($17.94 billion) is expected to have been invested in infrastructure and other assets for Expo 2020, with most of it “likely to be retained” for future use.

A final decision on a change of dates is expected to be made in June by member states of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), which awards the event.

It comes as another of the year’s largest events, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, announced it would be postponed for a year.

Featured image: iStock.com/EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER

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