International fairs and national exhibitions have been organized since the late 1700s to showcase innovation, architecture, and manufactured goods in countries that were at the forefront of the industrial revolution.

The very first World Expo was held in London’s Crystal Palace in 1851, and was designed to be a “great exhibition of the works of industry from all nations.” Each event is a catalyst for economic, cultural, and social transformation and generates important legacies for the host nation, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

According to Expo historian Urso Chappell, people are often not quite sure what to expect from an event featuring innovation, but one thing that host cities can expect is a large economic boom thanks to massive construction projects, a higher international profile, and business opportunities, as well as an influx of tourists, government delegations, and visitors.

Celebrating Human Ingenuity

Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the host of Expo 2020, is expecting 25 million visits during the six-month duration of October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021. The event is generating roughly 270,000 new jobs and more than 54,000 residents of the UAE have expressed an interest in becoming an event volunteer, a testament to the pride people have in representing their country and culture to the rest of the world.

Indeed, the entire nation is being galvanized through an exciting national engagement program, dubbed #Hayyakum2020, which  was launched at the recent Dubai World Cup. More than 60,000 race horse owners, trainers, and fans were introduced to the program and asked to raise awareness about Expo 2020 and herald the future in the true spirit of hayyakum, which means “welcome” in Arabic.

“This is an opportunity to tell our nation’s story to the world – our achievements, our aspirations, and our values,” said Her Excellency Reen Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai.

In essence, Expo 2020 aims to connect minds through networks and platforms to help find solutions to the universal challenges we must overcome in order to create a sustainable future. Welcome the Future, a campaign recently launched to promote Expo 2020 Dubai, has attracted more than 200 million views.

The World Expo is the UAE’s time to shine in 2020, and as the host of the world’s largest Expo, Dubai will welcome 192 participating countries that will share their own achievements and innovations.

Creating the Experience

As a premier partner of Expo 2020 Dubai, SAP is in a unique position to shape the experiences of more than 100 million physical and digital visitors.

The magnificent pavilions and the interactive experiences are designed to inspire people to co-create a better future. SAP’s role is to support the visitor’s journey in retail and customer experience, thereby securing a long-lasting commitment to improving lives.


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SAP will help Expo 2020 Dubai run better and improve people’s overall experience. SAP Customer Data Cloud will provide real-time customer profiles for organizers, exhibitors, and third parties, capturing consent and preferences across customer journeys for all visitors.

SAP will also manage approximately 2,000 point-of-sale locations on the Expo site, with SAP S/4HANA and SAP Customer Checkout providing a streamlined retail experience for international participants. That way people can focus on what’s really important: connecting with like minds and creating a better future.

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