The Slovenia Times

Slovenia's Expo goals surpassed, says economy minister


Ljubljana - First results show Slovenia has surpassed its goals for the Expo 2020, held between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022, as firms are already striking deals and UAE travel agents are showing interest in Slovenia. This shows the decision to take part was right, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said on Wednesday.

"The participation in the Expo was the biggest promotion of the Slovenian economy in the country's history and has already yielded results. Companies report about new deals and agreements, which is only the beginning," he said in a video address as some members of the Expo team took stock of Slovenia's Expo Dubai participation in Ljubljana.

The Slovenian pavilion will remain in Dubai serving as the main hub for Slovenian businesses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the region, Počivalšek said, while he also thanked everyone who had cooperated on the project.

Rok Capl, acting director of the SPIRIT agency, said that while Slovenia had expected 600,000 visitors at its pavilion during the six-month period, almost a million had turned out. The pavilion moreover hosted 34 business and tourism delegations with representatives of 600 companies.

"The project has exceeded its original purpose, and the investment has paid off. We've also met one of the main goals - Slovenian companies being better represented in the UAE and the region's markets and Slovenian expertise being recognised there."

Anuša Gaši, Expo project manager at SPIRIT, said the Slovenian team had done an excellent job so their know-how should be tapped into at the next Expo, in Osaka in 2025.

According to GZS director Aleš Cantarutti, opportunities for Slovenian firms in the Middle East are mostly in food industry, engineering, new technologies and tourism.

Over 24 million people visited the Expo in Dubai, which was to open in October 2020, but was rescheduled by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 200 million visiting it online.

It featured 192 countries, the most in Expo history, and this was the first time that all participating countries had their own pavilion. Slovenia was promoted under the slogan "Slovenia. Green and Smart Experience" to underline its sustainable, modern and creative character.

The country's goal was to position itself on the global map as a sustainable but at the same time hi-tech and innovative country, promoting its economy, products and services, and highlighting Slovenia as a tourist destination.


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