Expo 2020 Dubai sees 7 mln visits, organizers impose heightened COVID-19 measures

Expo 2020 Dubai: Rare yellow 203-carat sapphire worth $4 mln sparkles at world fair‎

A flawless, vivid yellow sapphire has been unveiled at the Sri Lanka Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai to coincide with the National Day celebrations of the tropical island republic.

The sparkling Mushan Vibrant Golden Yellow Sapphire is a 203-carat, cushion-cut gem, and has been brought to Expo 2020 Dubai by Mushan International, a leading sapphire exporter of Sri Lanka. It was mined in 2016 in Ratnapura, the sapphire capital of the world, and weighed 429 carats as a rough stone.

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A picture has not been made available.

Mushan Salahudeen, Director of Mushan International, said: “We decided to bring this rare gem to Expo 2020 to showcase and promote a symbol of Sri Lanka’s natural resources. Our company is making its debut in the Middle East market, and we are setting up our head office in Dubai. The UAE has a great infrastructure, and business-friendly policies conducive to startups. There is a huge potential for colored gemstones here – a niche market.”

Sapphires are a source of great national pride for Sri Lanka. Some of the rarest sapphires in the world have been mined there, and grace the private collections of billionaires and royalty.

The Mushan Vibrant Golden Yellow Sapphire is priced at approximately AED 15 million ($4 million), and the company plans to auction it in the UAE.

It is being exhibited at the Sri Lanka Pavilion in Expo’s Opportunity District until January 5.

Meanwhile, Expo 2020 Dubai has recorded 8,958,132 visits during its first three months, boosted by a slate of spectacular events across the December festive season and with more world-class sport, music and cultural performances expected in the second half of its six-month run.

From October to December 2021, Expo hosted a total of 8,902 government leaders, including ministers, presidents, prime ministers and heads of state – all speaking at numerous official events, including Expo National Days, which provide a unique opportunity to spotlight a nation’s culture, achievements, pavilion and event-time programming.

New Year’s Eve celebrations are planned at Expo 20202 Dubai. (Supplied: Dubai Media Office)

Almost half of all visits (47 per cent) have been generated by Expo’s Seasons Passes, with the number of repeat visits to Expo in the first three months reaching 3.5 million – a reflection of the myriad of experiences that require more than one visit.

Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “We enter a new year having built solid friendships that will enable us to drive urgent action on some of the greatest challenges facing us all.

“Our latest figures are testament to the determination and hard work of everyone involved in Expo as we pass our half-way mark. And with the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone continuing to be of the highest priority, the numbers also reflect the strength of our ongoing stringent COVID-19 safety measures, which continue to protect visitors, staff and Expo participants alike.”

December highlights included fireworks and electrifying New Year’s Eve sets from world-renowned DJs Armin van Buuren and Dmitri Vegas. The celebrations topped an incredible month that began with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee and included a show-stopping performance from Alicia Keys and a concert from A.R. Rahman – his first in almost two years.

With just 87 days left, each jam-packed with more experiences – from a visit from British boxing star Anthony Joshua on January 5 to the first ever Global Goals Week to be held outside New York later this month – visitors are encouraged to grab their tickets as soon as possible.

Between October 1 and December 31, almost one third (30 per cent) of all visitors came from outside the UAE, with the top international visitor countries including India, Germany, France, the UK, the USA, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Many people also continue to travel to the site using RTA transport, honoring Expo 2020’s sustainability subtheme. Between 1 October and end-December, almost 675,000 rides were made to and from the site using taxis, more than a million trips were made on the free Expo Rider bus service, and more than 3.4 million users entered and exited Expo via the Dubai Metro.

Expo 2020’s virtual visitation crossed the 50 million mark, driven by the offering of [email protected], which enables visitors to take a bespoke live virtual tour through the site, as well as headline acts which have seen millions of viewers tune in from around the globe.

The Expo School program attracted 334,110 visits from private and public schools over 41 school days, representing around a third of the total student population in the UAE. The program’s virtual series, Expo Adventures, saw visits soar to 3.9 million up to 31 December with students attending from more than 60 countries.

As the most significant global gathering to be held since the start of the pandemic, Expo 2020’s stringent COVID-19 safety measures are designed to protect everyone visiting and working on site. They include mask-wearing – indoors and outdoors – for visitors, staff and participants, and on-site PCR testing facilities for Country Pavilion staff, frontline workers, and entertainers.

All Expo and International Participant staff, volunteers, contractors and service providers must be vaccinated, while visitors ages 18 and above must present proof of any vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours.

Read more:

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