Expo 2020 Dubai schedule unaffected by UAE's new weekend

Senior official says many scheduled performances are part of wider global tours

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Performances and themed events already scheduled for Expo 2020 Dubai will be unaffected by the UAE's shift to a new working week, a senior official said.

Shows already announced for the coming months at the world fair will not alter their schedules because these are often part of wider global tours.

But visitors can look forward to new additions to the packed itinerary at the international extravaganza.

The UAE announced on Tuesday that federal government employees would work full days from Monday to Thursday, with a half day on Friday.

The new weekend will be Saturday and Sunday as of January 1. Abu Dhabi and Dubai governments and schools also confirmed they would switch to the new schedule.

Plans are being drawn up for more celebrations at the Expo site on Sunday, January 2 , which is the UAE's newest public holiday.

“We will be following UAE directives in terms of the weekend but we haven’t changed anything as yet,” Sconaid McGeachin, senior vice president of communications, told The National.

“There will definitely be announcements coming for January 2. A lot of people take time off during the Christmas, new year period anyway so we do have a packed programme during that time.”

The theme weeks from January until March on travel, health, food, agriculture and water will continue as planned as speakers have been booked and activities scheduled.

In that time when the weekend changes we will still keep the thematic weeks from Sunday to Saturday because it is a packed programme every day and it lasts for a week,” she said.

“For all our other activities we will be looking at it given the announcement has just come out.

“It’s too early to tell. We will be able to respond in due course once more is known.”

The Expo calendar for the duration of the six-month world fair was released before the October launch.

“Anybody who has already been announced – that won’t be changing because that is when those performers are scheduled to come,” she said.

“They are often coming as part of a wider tour of anything they might be doing globally.”

New concerts have sometimes been revealed weeks before, such as the show by Alicia Keys, who will launch her new double album Keys at Al Wasl Plaza on Friday.

Details will soon be given on another global pop name for a performance on December 17, Ms McGeachin said.

Organisers are gearing up for a packed holiday season.

AR Rahman, an Academy Award-winning composer and musician, will take to the stage on December 22, followed by a Christmas Day performance by Lea Salonga, a Broadway star and the singing voice for princesses in two Disney musicals.

Visitor numbers since Expo opened on October 1 have climbed to more than 5.6 million after a colourful National Day weekend filled with fireworks and parades.

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Updated: December 09, 2021, 3:30 AM