Australia leverages Expo 2020 connections

05 April 2022
In conversation with Justin McGowan, Australia’s commissioner-general of Expo 2020 Dubai

This article is a part of a series of roundup features from Expo 2020. Explore MEED's coverage of the expo here.

1. Has Expo 2020 lived up to your expectations?

What Expo 2020 Dubai delivered has been nothing short of spectacular. Our participation has exceeded our expectations on almost every level.

With more than 1.3 million people through our visitor experience and over 30 million online visits to the expo’s Virtual 360 site, it was an impressive platform by which to tell our stories. We welcomed more than 3,300 business guests to VIP events, and hosted more than 400 VIPs and dignitaries from across the world.

I’m especially proud of our collaboration around sports, welcoming more than 17,000 participants to sporting events and activations at Aussie Park, further enhancing our leadership and commitment to sporting events and inclusion.

December 2021: The Kids Winter Camp by the Australia pavilion at the Sports, Fitness & Wellbeing Hub in Expo 2020 Dubai


Despite the global challenges of the past few years, the UAE really has been successful in providing a platform for the world to truly connect and engage.

2. Business partnerships and trade deals signed as a result of the event?

The recent agri-food MoU [memorandum of understanding] signing between the UAE and the Australian state of New South Wales is a great example of the kinds of trade deals and partnerships we can expect to see rolling out from our participation in the Dubai expo. With 25 trade deals already under way and far more to come, Expo 2020 has provided a unique opportunity to build relationships and host pivotal business discussions.

3. Your favourite moment/takeaway from these six months?

Celebrating our National Day at Expo 2020 would have to be my highlight to date. I felt immensely proud to have the opportunity to represent our country alongside Australia’s governor-general and an impressive line-up of Australian talent.

We have worked hard to accurately represent who we are as Australians, highlighting our 60,000-year history of indigenous culture through to Australia’s modern-day inventions and collaboration through optimism, ambition and ingenuity. It was great to be able to connect and share this with the world at Expo 2020.

4. What’s next for you after Expo 2020?

We’ve had significant results from our participation in the expo, but the real work will continue over the coming months and years. Our UAE-based teams at Austrade and the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade will be continuing to build on the relationships and networks formed to drive additional opportunities for trade and business, connecting the UAE and Australia.

October 2021: Speakers during ‘Engineering a Balanced City: Reinventing World Class Cities as Social Melting Pots’ event held at the Australia pavilion


Australia has also reopened its doors for international students and tourists, and we look forward to continuing to welcome some of the UAE’s most talented students to Australia’s top-rated universities, and for travellers to get the opportunity to see our incredible country and experience true Australian hospitality for themselves. 

Our team would like to say a huge “thanks mate” to everyone who has made this event such a success. It truly has been an event like no other and we wouldn’t have been able to achieve everything we have without the support of our partners, the local business community and the people of the UAE.

More from Expo 2020 Dubai:

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