Wed 17-02-2021 12:53 PM
DUBAI, 17th February, 2021 (WAM) -- Digital connectivity and the changing nature of travel and tourism in the reality of the pandemic were just some of the key themes explored by travel experts, international participants and Official Partners, including Emirates and Etisalat, as Expo 2020 Dubai continued its pre-event programme.
Covering key sectors such as mobility, transport and logistics, governance, education and travel, Expo Talks: Travel and Connectivity – a series of virtual panel discussions and talks held on 16th February – also examined artificial intelligence and data privacy.
The event provided a glimpse of how Expo 2020 will bring to life the theme of travel and connectivity when it opens in October, and featured keynote remarks from Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai; Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline; and Hatem Dowidar, CEO of Etisalat Group.
Emirates hosted two ‘fireside chats,’ with the first focusing on the evolution of on-board connectivity and what this could look like in the future. The second explored how the airline is creating and nurturing an ecosystem for innovation in travel and aviation in Dubai, and whether COVID-19 has influenced or expedited innovation in this space.
Another session, featuring Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia, explored digital services and solutions in the new reality of COVID-19, while Bhutan and Portugal were among a number of international participants who delved into the future of sustainable tourism. In parallel, many international participants also hosted talks on their own channels.
Al Hashimy said, "What we have endured in the past 12 months has been incredibly challenging. The necessary physical restrictions required to address the global pandemic have challenged us, because they have undone what we considered inviolable: our right to move, explore and discover.
"However, we have also witnessed an incredible era for innovation and imagination – exemplified by the success of the Hope Probe, the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission. The visionaries of the travel, tourism and logistics sectors are continuing to integrate newer technologies and methodologies, so we might indulge our human need to connect, while simultaneously reinforcing our shared commitment to a cleaner, safer, healthier future for everyone."
Travel and Connectivity was the seventh in a series of 10 thematic talks – launched in October 2020 with Space – bringing together influential policymakers, thought-leaders, Expo participants and the public to help shape the thought-provoking content and conversations taking place during Expo 2020.
Running from 1st October, 2021, until 31st March, 2022, Expo 2020 will seek collaborative solutions to the world’s most pressing issues – including weeks dedicated to the Global Goals, Climate and Biodiversity, Knowledge and Learning, and Water – to help shape a better, more sustainable future for all.