Innovative Switzerland rolls out red carpet at Expo 2020 Dubai
Bern, 30.09.2021 – The World Expo in Dubai opens its doors tomorrow, Friday 1 October. Switzerland is participating with its own pavilion, which offers visitors a memorable experience and showcases our country in all its diversity: from the beauty of the Swiss Alps to Switzerland’s role as a leading innovation hotspot. Made possible with partners from business, science and politics, the pavilion will be open to the public for six months in order to strengthen relations with Switzerland’s most important trading partner in the Middle East and showcase its status as an economic powerhouse and attractiveness as a tourist destination in the region.
The first World Expo to be held in an Arab country will take place from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. Switzerland was the first of 192 countries to confirm its participation. Dubai World Expo 2022, whose theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, is expected to attract 25 million visitors, of whom 70% from abroad.
A multifaceted experience
The Swiss Pavilion created by Presence Switzerland, a unit of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), offers visitors a memorable encounter with Switzerland: even the pavilion’s exterior stands out with its funnel-shaped, mirrored front and a 700-square-metre red carpet to welcome visitors.
A major attraction is a nature experience featuring a spectacular mountain panorama that emerges from a sea of fog to present tourist destinations selected in collaboration with Switzerland Tourism.
Then it’s on to innovative Switzerland. Schindler – Presence Switzerland’s lead partner – has its own exhibition area in the pavilion, offering visitors a vertical spatial experience that illustrates the development and use of new technologies for the mobility of the future and a better quality of life in cities.
In the second part of the pavilion, various projects and products developed by Swiss universities, start-ups and innovative companies showcase Switzerland as the world’s leading innovation hotspot.
Research and innovation for a sustainable future
Swissnex will also participate for a limited period: together with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), it will offer a diverse programme of professional seminars, panel discussions, exhibitions, interactive workshops and networking events. Swissnex’s objective is to foster new linkages between education, research and innovation actors from Switzerland, the UAE and the wider Middle East, and thereby contribute to the sustainable internationalisation and global competitiveness of Switzerland as an ERI location.
The pavilion also illustrates Switzerland’s commitment to a sustainable future in line with the Expo’s theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. A good example is ‘Blue Peace’, an exhibition of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) which spotlights Switzerland’s efforts in the field of water diplomacy and the sustainable management of the world’s water resources.
Deepening relations and showcasing Switzerland
“Participation is a unique opportunity to raise awareness of Switzerland and its strengths throughout the region. The local media have already singled out our pavilion as one of the most Instagrammable. That’s exactly what we are aiming for: visibility and prestige for our export industry and for Switzerland as a centre for education, research and innovation,” notes Ambassador Nicolas Bideau, head of Presence Switzerland.
The exhibition is a public-private partnership that will also feature private sector partners and their products and services. In addition to the three principal partners – Rolex, Schindler and Switzerland Tourism – Clariant, Novartis, Nestlé, Roche, KGS and several Swiss suppliers will also be represented. Sprüngli will have its own store and café in the pavilion. The pavilion is thus an important vehicle to further strengthen relations with Switzerland’s most important trading partner in the Middle East and to publicise Switzerland’s economic strength and appeal as a tourist destination.
The Swiss government and the Swiss Embassy in Abu Dhabi will also use the World Expo to pay tribute to the diplomatic relations between the UAE and Switzerland. The President of the Swiss Confederation, Guy Parmelin, will be the first to do so during his visit to Dubai to mark Switzerland’s Nations Day on 29 October. Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer will also visit the pavilion together with representatives of the Swiss financial sector as part of the Financial Centre Campaign.
The total cost of Switzerland’s presence at Expo 2020 Dubai is CHF 16.5 million.
Facts and figures on the Swiss Pavilion
Duration: 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022
Location: Opportunity District
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm
Area: 2,000 square metres
Organiser: Presence Switzerland, FDFA
Commissioner General: Manuel Salchli, Head of Major International Events, Presence Switzerland
Project team: OOS (architecture), Bellprat Partner (scenography), Lorenz Eugster (landscaping)