There'll be much to see and do in 2020, but most of the focus for travellers will be on two mega events — the Tokyo Olympics and the Dubai World Expo.
In fact, those two international spectacles are sure to suck up most of the 2020 travel budgets.
Tokyo, for instance, is expecting 600,000 overseas visitors for the two-week-long Summer Games while Dubai is predicting it’s hi-tech world’s fair will lure 25 million visitors for the six-month-long event.
Canada will be well represented at both. There’ll be 140 Canadian athletes competing in Japan and they’re sure to bring along lots of friends and family to cheer them on. The Games run from July 24 to August 9.
Above: Tokyo's iconic traditional back alleys and it's glittering modern skyline are ready to welcome the world for the Summer Games.
Canada’s pavilion at the Dubai World Expo is already being hailed as one of the most striking designs among the 190 being built for the the massive exhibition, which opens October 20, 2020 and runs to the spring of 2021.
Of the two, though, Tokyo may be the biggest challenge for foreigners. While you won’t have any problem finding tickets — 30 per cent of the 7.6 million tickets to sporting events have been set aside for foreigners — but accommodation is another issue. And if you do find a hotel, be prepared for the sticker shock. Even the country’s puny capsule hotels, which normally charge $20 U.S. a night have raised their rates to an eye-popping $100 during the Games.
And if you’re thinking of splitting the cost of a room with a friend or family member, think again. Japan has strict laws concerning per-person, per-night rates. So if you book for one and show up with a friend, be prepared to be charged for your travelling companion as well.
Above: Canada's futuristic circular pavilion at the Dubai World Expo is already being hailed as one of the best among the 190 being built.
Furthermore, to comply with strict safety regulations, hotel rooms are limited by type in the number of guests they may have — a room rated as “single” occupancy can only accommodate one adult, and so on.
Airbnb recently made its debut in Japan and by all accounts they are doing very well. However, Airbnb is reporting brisk business during the Games’ period and their small inventory is almost sold out.
To overcome the shortage of hotel rooms in the capital, Games’ organizers have lined up some cruise ships to serve as floating hotels.
The Games will be staged across nine Japanese prefectures, but the majority will take place in two of Tokyo’s biggest districts, the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone. Sapporo, on the beautiful northern island of Hokkaido, will be hosting some soccer matches, and baseball will be held in Fukushima.
With over 200 countries participating, even Tokyo does not have enough hotel rooms to handle the expected influx.
It's a different story in Dubai, however, where hotel rooms are plentiful and because the fair is being staged over such a long period.
The Expo site covers a vast area and is located between downtown Dubai and the city’s mega airport. In all, 190 countries will showcase their own pavilions, making this the largest international event ever staged in the Middle East.
The theme of Dubai World Expo is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future" and it promises to be the most technologically-advanced ever staged.
Above: The Dubai World Expo will have many corporate sponsors, among them Emirates Airlines, which has a glittering pavilion.
Keeping with the main theme, Canada’s Pavilion — The Future in Mind — will focus on Canada’s past, present and future and will feature an immersive 360-degree theatre experience where you can delve into unknown worlds. Sounds like an updated Canada Pavilion from Montreal’s Expo 67, which has been duplicated at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Centre.
A new high speed train system will shuttle Expo visitors between airport and downtown and even as far away as Abu Dhabi.
The pavilions are an architectural Disneyland — rivalling downtown Dubai — and their futuristic designs are sure to dazzle visitors even before they enter.
The UAE Pavilion, of course, is one of the biggest and is shaped like a falcon in flight.
Themed pavilions, like the Opportunity Pavilion, the Mobility Pavilion and Terra, where guests can tip-toe through an actual forest grown in the Dubai desert, will leave visitors awestruck.
Among the 190 nations participating, the U.S., China, Saudi Arabia, U.K., Spain, Oman and Thailand are contributing pavilions that are already being hailed as architectural wonders.
A one-day pass for the Dubai World Expo costs $33 (U.S.) and a three-day pass about $70 — far less than what Disney parks charge.
Air Canada, Etihad and Emirates Airlines all offer direct flights to Dubai and Abu Dhabi from Toronto.
There’s plenty of other things happening in 2020 but most people will keep their eyes on these two events.