Ever since Expo 2020 Dubai opened its doors on October 1, more than seven million people have walked through its gates to experience the ‘biggest show on earth” that Dubai is hosting. But many more millions – from South Africa to Brazil and Pakistan to Peru – has gotten a taste of the Expo magic thanks to the virtual platforms that bring the sights and sounds of the world fair to their fingertips.
More than 30 million virtual visitors attended Expo 2020 so far since day one, Rehan Asad, Chief Programme Officer, said on Tuesday.
“This is really unprecedented. I will be very honest and candid with you that we got surprised by the people’s responses, people’s engagement on the website,” Asad said during a media briefing.
He said people from more than 180 countries have logged in to the virtual expo site at www.virtualexpodubai.com.
Most virtually popular pavilions
The UAE, India and Philippines topped the countries with the most online viewers followed by Egypt, US, Saudi, Indonesia, UK, Italy and Japan. Asad said virtual expo is also popular in African countries like Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, and in Latin American countries like Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia.
“When it comes to the pavilions, Australia has been the most visited pavilion virtually followed by Japan, India, China, Brazil, Pakistan, US, Russia, South Korea, Germany, Philippines and the UK,” he said.
Virtual Expo is also hugely popular with children as Expo has worked with the best animation companies in the world and created the pavilion journey with video games.
“So, children can go the virtual expo and watch the Mobility Pavilion, understand the journey, play the games and learn. More than a million kids have taken the animation journey we have put together.”
He said what is encouraging is that people from both technologically advanced or not so advanced countries as well logged in to enjoy Expo.
“That is the true spirit of Expo and that is what we really want to achieve that it offered experience to the entire world. And this number shows that,” said the official.
The highest visited online event till date is still the opening ceremony that clocked six million people followed by the American superstar Alicia Keys concert at Al Wasl Plaza on December 10.
“When we started this journey, 65% of the base was male and 35% was female.
As of last week, globally 50.1% of our viewers are female, 49.9% are male. So we are catering to all sides,” said the official.
About 85% of the virtual viewers are watching Expo on their mobile phones. Around 10% is from desktop and 5% viewers use iPad or tablets, as per the expo data.
Average viewing time in YouTube is around two minutes 32 seconds. The content published and the average viewing time is 11 minutes plus. When it comes to online content, it is a huge number. He said the only way people will spend more time online is if the quality of the content is good and relevant.
Elaborating on the advance AR and Virtual Reality technologies the event has put to use, Asad said, Expo has released the ‘Dubai Xplorer’ App that will allow visitors to recreate the entire Expo experience in VR. “So, what you are seeing walking through this site, you will see a replica virtually in the website, and you will see a complete virtual experience at Expo Xplorer app,” said Asad.
He said one the reasons for the runaway success of the virtual expo is that the content is available on all platforms including the Expo website, app, on Facebook, You Tube and also on other social media platforms.
He said though Covid-19 has accelerated the technological transformation into a virtual world, Expo 2020 had the vision to make it one of the most virtually accessible world fairs from the planning stages.
He said in 2012 when Dubai submitted the big document (to host Expo), one of the promises was that Dubai will host not only the most successful and the best physical Expo, it will also host the first ever and the most successful virtual and augmented reality Expo,” said Asad.
“So, this has been built into the DNA of the expo planning.