Promoting Switzerland at Expo 2020 in Dubai

Press release, 17.05.2017

On 17 May 2017, the Federal Council adopted the credit dispatch for Switzerland’s participation in Expo 2020 in Dubai (United Arab Emirates, UAE). The total budget is CHF 14.84 million, about half of which will financed by third party funds. The theme of Expo 2020 is "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future". By participating in Expo 2020, Switzerland will be able to showcase its strengths – particularly in the areas of education, research, innovation and business – throughout the region. Expo 2020 also offers Switzerland an excellent opportunity to communicate to an international audience what it stands for and the values it represents.

Dubai will host the next major world exhibition from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021 – the first time the event will be held in an Arab and Muslim country. The organisers expect 182 countries to take part in the event, which they estimate will draw some 25 million visitors, 30% from the UAE and 70% from abroad. In view of the economic and political importance of the host country and the entire Gulf region, the Federal Council decided on 13 April 2017 that Switzerland would take part in Expo 2020 in Dubai. With today's decision, the Federal Council adopted a dispatch to the Federal Assembly recommending a corresponding credit commitment.

The total budget for Switzerland's participation in Expo 2020 amounts to CHF 14.84 million. In light of the tight financial situation the federal government currently finds itself in, the budget approved for Switzerland’s participation in Expo 2020 is significantly smaller than for previous world exhibitions. Furthermore, third parties are expected to make a substantial contribution of at least CHF 7.5 million in the form of sponsorships. The Federal Council has charged the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) with the task of managing the Swiss Pavilion project for Expo 2020. Presence Switzerland will be in charge of implementing the project.

Expo 2020 offers Switzerland a platform that will attract a great deal of attention from the media and the public not only in Dubai but also internationally. Its participation will enable Switzerland to deepen its bilateral relations with the host country and to strengthen its position throughout the region. It is also an opportunity to showcase to an international audience Switzerland’s strengths in innovation, research, and high-quality education, as well as its economic capacity and attractiveness as a tourist destination. The Swiss Pavilion will also serve as a versatile platform for Swiss companies and the Swiss tourism sector to promote their strengths in the economically attractive Gulf region. Switzerland will also be able to communicate to the visitors to Expo 2020 the values it stands for and what it does to help tackle global challenges in areas such as good governance, sustainability and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

The competition to design the Swiss Pavilion was won by the ‘Belles Vues’ project submitted by the OOS AG team (architecture and general planning), Bellprat Partner AG (scenography) and Lorenz Eugster Landschaftsarchitektur und Städtebau GmbH (landscape architecture) under the direction of OOS AG. The judges were persuaded by the project’s architectural appeal and the fact that it complies with the available budget. The conceptual theme of the Swiss Pavilion is a hike through Switzerland. As visitors walk through the pavilion, they learn about Switzerland and its answers to future challenges. The entrance and main hall of the Swiss Pavilion will address the main theme of Expo 2020, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” and its sub-themes, “Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability”. Temporary exhibitions hosted together with partners from the private sector will showcase Swiss products and services. Visitors will also be invited to stay connected to Switzerland via digital channels after they leave the pavilion. The pavilion will also include a restaurant, a shop and various rooms for events. Subject to the Federal Assembly’s approval of the credit commitment, the project for the Swiss Pavilion 2018 will be further developed.

With today’s decision, the Federal Council also appointed Manuel Salchli, head of Major International Events for Presence Switzerland, as commissioner general, and Maya Tissafi, Swiss ambassador to the UAE, as deputy commissioner general of the Swiss Pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai.

Address for enquiries:

Nicolas Bideau
Head of Presence Switzerland
Tel.: 079 667 69 15

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA)
FDFA Information
Tel.: 058 462 31 53


The Federal Council