Expo in Dubai: an event that will have a strong connection to India
NZ Trade Commissioner to India Ralph Hays explains how NZTE is engaging with Expo 2020 Dubai, and how it could be an important event for businesses with a connection to India, as well as the Middle East India and the United Arab Emirates are inextricably linked. The UAE is home to the largest non-resident Indian community in the world (approximately 3.5 million), and while non-repatriation flights between the UAE and India were put on hold in May due to COVID, Delhi-Dubai was the fifth busiest air route in the world in December 2020. In 2018, the UAE was the first destination for close to half of all travellers flying out of India.
While the devastating pandemic has put a halt to travel links for the moment, the connection between the UAE and India has deep roots. Just one example: a huge, ornate Hindu temple is being built on a 10.9-hectare site in Abu Dhabi. The land for it was donated by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.
Why am I detailing connections between the UAE and India?
Because of the upcoming world expo in Dubai, which New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) has built a strong business programme around. We view the global event as an opportunity for New Zealand exporters interested in South Asia, as well as those interested in the Middle East.
Expo 2020 Dubai will see 192 nations participating over six months from October 2021 to March 2022. Postponed a year because of the pandemic, it is now months away and will be held on a newly built site that, at 438 hectares, is the same size as Auckland's CBD.
Both the Dubai and UAE governments are clearly committed to making it a success and the Expo organisers are now offering free COVID vaccinations to all official participants and their staff (regardless of residency status).
With so many Indian business leaders connected to the UAE, the Expo – the first to be held in either the Middle East, Africa or South Asia – will present opportunities for businesses who want to make connections not only in the UAE and India but also across the MENASA region and beyond.
NZTE’s Expo Business Leverage programme has three key streams:
Discover the Middle East: for Agritech, Healthcare and FMCG exporters new to the region. It starts with virtual learning and networking in June/July this year and will culminate with in-market trips to both the UAE and/or Saudi Arabia in 2022. Express interest here.
Accelerate: high-level networking events featuring regional and global sector specialists as well business missions from other Expo 2020 country pavilions; designed for those already doing business in the region. Express interest here.
The New Zealand Food & Beverage Programme: for F&B exporters with a presence or understanding of the region that want to showcase their products at trade shows and to a global audience at Expo 2020 Dubai events. Express interest here.
There will be virtual elements for those who can’t travel: including webinars, video content, one-on-one Zoom consultations, virtual conferences. The programme is open to any appropriate business that is a New Zealand Trade & Enterprise customer. It is also free to participate in (but businesses do have to cover their own travel costs if going to Dubai).
Express an interest via myNZTE’s Attend section, or if you have any questions about how to best engage, drop the team a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another vital way for businesses with a Kiwi-India connection to engage at Expo 2020 Dubai would be to host an event, or even just a business lunch, at the New Zealand pavilion (you can book the pavilion at nzatexpo.govt.nz). NZ’s pavilion will have a licensed restaurant that showcases fantastic produce; there are hosting venues for partner events and there’s an exhibition experience as well as a cultural and entertainment programme. The pavilion is inspired by waka taonga, receptacles made by Māori to safe-guard items of considerable intrinsic value.
Back to UAE-India connections: India’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will be one of the largest at the event. Built across four-storeys and on a 0.5-hectare site, key festivals such as Diwali and Holi will be celebrated at the pavilion.
The India pavilion is also a permanent structure, which will live on post-event. The ground floor will be focused on India’s mission to Mars, and there will be a section dedicated to medicinal herbs and yoga as well as areas that present tourism and business opportunities in India. As visitors leave they will have a chance to ask questions of Gandhi, who will be represented by interactive, holographic images.
With the awful realities of COVID in India and much of the world right now, it can feel difficult to look ahead to things like Expo, but if meaningful and lasting trade, education and collaboration connections can be made at the event, it will ultimately be good for India, good for New Zealand and good for the world. So – whether you’re in the UAE, India or New Zealand and reading this do reach out to NZTE to see how we can connect at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Trade Commissioner and Consul-General, India, Sri Lanka,
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