The much anticipated Dubai Expo 2020 could be delayed for up to a year to give the tourism and business industries a chance to recover from the pandemic.

Dubai’s organisers said they were in talks with participating countries and the world fair’s governing body, the Bureau International des Expositions, to determine whether it should be run at a new date.

On Monday, officials said they agreed to explore “the possibility of a one-year delay to the opening of Expo 2020”.

A final decision can only be made by the bureau and the general assembly of nations.

The announcement followed a virtual meeting of the Expo 2020 steering committee, representing UAE officials and foreign countries set to exhibit at the Expo.

“While they remain firmly committed to Expo 2020, many countries have been significantly impacted by Covid-19,” said Reem Al Hashimy, Director General of Dubai Expo 2020 and Minister of State for International Co-operation.

“They have therefore expressed a need to postpone the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai by one year to enable them to overcome this challenge. The UAE and Expo 2020 Dubai have listened. We supported the proposal to explore a one-year postponement at today’s steering committee meeting.

“We look forward to welcoming the world, which we are certain will only come out of this pressing challenge stronger and more resilient than it ever was.”

News of the talks came after the decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games until next year.