An events professional’s Expo 2020 Dubai experiences

by Editorial Team
3 minutes read

By Doreen T. Dzamatira

So last week “The Employer” sent me on a look-and-learn visit to Expo 2020 Dubai. It was certainly an enriching experience and I will recommend that everyone, who can, visits the Expo at least once before its end in March 2022.

Expo 2020 is a World Expo, which is a global gathering of nations dedicated to finding solutions to pressing challenges of our time. It is held after every 5 years and lasts for 6 months. Each World Expo is named after the host city e.g. Expo 2015 Milan (Italy) and Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai (Japan). No two World Expos have ever been the same as this is a platform for nations to showcase their achievements, share information about their people and cultures as well as to unveil new inventions from all corners of the world. The telephone, Ferris wheel, ice cream cone, X-ray machine and air conditioning were all demonstrated to the public for the first time at a World Expo. Basically, each national pavilion is that country’s big flex!

While we will wait until March 2022 for the final assessment, based on Dubai’s determination to build the biggest and the best, I hazard a guess that Expo 2020 will certainly beat and set a world record or two!

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One thing that struck me though was how much the success of the show was a collaborative effort. Granted the organiser and venue went all-out to deliver on a spectacular showcase but what was amazing was how the individual exhibitors embraced their co-creation role in the Expo design process. Exhibitors understood the assignment and recognised that their input is imperative to the development and delivery of value to Expo 2020 visitors. Here are some examples on how they did this:

Thematic depth

The majority of exhibitors made sure that every aspect of their Expo strategy and execution spoke to the event theme, “Connecting Minds and Creating the Future.” We cannot talk about the future without talking about children, which is why Monaco showed the kind of educational games they have in their country which teach basic programming to kids from as early as age 3 and why the USA Pavilion has a programme where 75 Youth Ambassadors serve as the country’s cultural ambassadors at the show.

Sensory experience

2D exhibits which only engage sight and hearing are very last decade, colleagues. Exhibits nowadays must offer a multi-sensory journey inside a universal theme through engaging and immersive activities. I can’t find Morocco on a map but I swear I now know what Morocco smells like through a visit to their pavilion (they had heavenly diffusers!). I also now know what Rwandese gorillas sound like through the virtual reality (VR) experience and what their home grown coffee tastes like from the cup I got at Café Rwanda!

All this is to say, my fellow marketers, communications specialists and stand directors, let’s see this at ZITF 2022, shall we?! Having a “beautiful” show is as much the participant’s responsibility as it is the organiser’s.

Doreen Dzamatira is an events specialist. She a Marketing and Corporate Communications Officer with the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Company, the organisers of Zimbabwe’s annual trade fair, the ZITF. She wrote in her personal capacity.

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