Probing humanity’s need to connect, explore and discover in a changing world, Expo gathers global travel and connectivity experts

  • Digital connectivity, data privacy, transport, travel discussed in livestreamed event
  • Topics include tourism during and after COVID-19; connectivity across key sectors
  • Emirates President Sir Tim Clark; Etisalat Group CEO make key contributions

Dubai: Digital connectivity and the changing nature of travel and tourism in the reality of the pandemic were just some of the key themes explored by travel experts, International Participants and Official Partners, including Emirates and Etisalat, as Expo 2020 Dubai continued its pre-event programme.

Covering key sectors such as mobility, transport and logistics, governance, education and travel, Expo Talks: Travel and Connectivity – a series of virtual panel discussions and talks held on 16 February – also examined artificial intelligence and data privacy.

The event – now available on demand – provided a glimpse of how Expo 2020 will bring to life the theme of travel and connectivity when it opens in October, and featured keynote remarks from Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai; Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline; and Eng. Hatem Dowidar, CEO of Etisalat Group.

Emirates hosted two ‘fireside chats’, with the first focusing on the evolution of on-board connectivity and what this could look like in the future. The second explored how the airline is creating and nurturing an ecosystem for innovation in travel and aviation in Dubai, and whether COVID-19 has influenced or expedited innovation in this space.

Another session, featuring Her Excellency Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia, explored digital services and solutions in the new reality of COVID-19, while Bhutan and Portugal were among a number of International Participants who delved into the future of sustainable tourism. In parallel, many International Participants also hosted talks on their own channels.

HE Reem Al Hashimy said: ““What we have endured in the past 12 months has been incredibly challenging. The necessary physical restrictions required to address the global pandemic have challenged us, because they have undone what we considered inviolable: our right to move, explore and discover.

“However, we have also witnessed an incredible era for innovation and imagination – exemplified by the success of the Hope Probe, the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission. The visionaries of the travel, tourism and logistics sectors are continuing to integrate newer technologies and methodologies, so we might indulge our human need to connect, while simultaneously reinforcing our shared commitment to a cleaner, safer, healthier future for everyone.”

Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline, said: “Humans are curious creatures, and we are social creatures. Travel and Connectivity provide us with the means to exchange goods and ideas, to gather knowledge, to thrive as individuals and function as an inter-dependent global society.

“If we didn’t have the ability to interact with others, whether through physical mobility or technological means, we wouldn’t have been able to progress or prosper. Travel and Connectivity are vital for the advancement of economies and societies.”

Eng. Hatem Dowidar, CEO, Etisalat Group, said: “Over recent years there has been an increased convergence between Travel and Connectivity, where technology has really improved the travelling experience. Through great connectivity we are able to instantaneously share our travel experiences across numerous applications and platforms, with people also able to enjoy these experiences virtually – especially in the UAE, home to the fastest mobile network in the world, a result of years of achievements by Etisalat to build one of the most advanced network in the region and globally.”

Travel and Connectivity was the seventh in a series of 10 thematic talks – launched in October 2020 with Space – bringing together influential policymakers, thought-leaders, Expo participants and the public to help shape the thought-provoking content and conversations taking place during Expo 2020.

Running from 1 October 2021 until 31 March 2022, Expo 2020 will seek collaborative solutions to the world’s most pressing issues – including weeks dedicated to the Global Goals, Climate and Biodiversity, Knowledge and Learning, and Water – to help shape a better, more sustainable future for all.

About Expo 2020 Dubai:

From 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, Expo 2020 Dubai will bring the world together in a spirit of hope and optimism and with a shared purpose towards solving some of our greatest challenges.

  • It will showcase the greatest innovations, breakthroughs and ideas from around the planet, enabling action towards a better world under its theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ 
  • Expo 2020 will be an endless journey of discovery as more than 200 participants – including nations, multilateral organisations, businesses, and educational institutions, as well as millions of visitors – harness their collective power to change the world for the better
  • Expo 2020’s sub-themes of OpportunityMobility and Sustainability will inspire visitors to make a conscious effort to think and live differently
  • An entertaining global celebration with something for everyone, Expo 2020 will wow visitors with daily events, showcasing the best of technology, creativity and culture, while F&B outlets will feature cuisine from around the world
  • The first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), located on a 4.38 sqkm site adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South 
  • Built with a long-term legacy in mind, the Expo site is an example of innovation in action and will transform into District 2020, a blueprint for human-centric, smart and sustainable cities of the future, after Expo 2020 closes its doors

How to cover Expo 2020 Dubai in person at event time or report on the event remotely

To attend Expo 2020 or cover Expo 2020 remotely using content and assets generated by Expo, you must be accredited. 

To kick off your journey with Expo 2020, please ensure that you:

1. Register to access our Media Information System, Tawassul at

Tawassul is regularly updated, providing the latest content assets, including press releases, photographs, audio and video, the electronic media kit, and information on broadcast and photography operations. It also provides you with important information and updates on facilities and services such as media accreditation, visa information for international accredited media, and permits. Access to other media-related systems (Media Asset Management System and Media Bookings System), which will be launched in Q2 2021, will only be permitted to accredited media (see below). Information about these systems can be found on Tawassul.

2. Once registered, submit an Expo 2020 Media Accreditation expression of interest. 

Within this expression of interest, please appoint an Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) from within your organisation who will act as the single point of contact with Expo 2020 for media accreditation. Following this, approved media organisations will be provided login details and instructions for the accreditation system to enable them to submit applications.

About World Expos:

In 1851 the Crystal Palace was the centrepiece of London’s Great Exhibition – the first World Expo. It celebrated the man-made industrial wonders of a rapidly changing world. Architecture, contents and a theme, ‘Industry of All Nations’, were combined to create a big idea of nations meeting nations in shared technological and commercial progress. In more recent years, participants in World Expos, including governments, international organisations and companies, have gathered to find solutions to universal challenges and to promote their achievements, products, ideas, innovations, their national brand, and their nations as destinations for tourism, trade and investment. 

World Expos are held under the auspices of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organisation responsible for overseeing and regulating international exhibitions (‘Expos’) and for fostering their core values of Education, Innovation and Cooperation. Today, four types of Expos are organised under the BIE’s auspices: World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.