Malaysia: To present ‘Rainforest Canopy’ at Expo 2020

Malaysia is set to transport visitors at Expo 2020 Dubai to a rainforest experience, with sustainability themes and displays of its rich culture and arts. On October 1, 2021, Malaysia will open its `Rainforest Canopy’ pavilion providing international visitors at the expo a unique and immersive rainforest experience.

Visitors can look forward to an architectural marvel that blends esoteric design with animation elements for a sublime experience of man-nature relationship. The pavilion is inspired by the country’s majestic tropical rainforests and visitors will find the `Rainforest Canopy’ in the middle of the desert enchanting, complete with tree clusters to walk through, flanked by tropical landscape and a meandering river. The aim is to re-enact the experience of the benign nature and reflect on how it has protected mankind all along. Themed ‘Energising Sustainability’, the pavilion spanning 1,234.05 sq. mt., is also proudly the first Net Zero Carbon fixture for the world expo.

With 192 participating countries and organisations and the first event to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, the world expo is an opportunity to showcase Malaysia’s biodiversity and how it recognises the need to protect the ancient biosphere for humankind. For example, Malaysia as a small developing country has successfully maintained its forest cover by more than 50% of its land mass since it made the pledge at the Rio Earth Summit 1992.

Malaysia’s participation in the mega event themed ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ is led by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysia while Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Centre (MGTC) is the implementing agency.

“The importance of the rainforest as the lung of the planet has never been greater than now with the challenge of climate change. In reflecting our pavilion’s theme and for its ecological importance, our rainforest best represents sustainability and the battle against climate change,” said MGTC Chief Executive Officer Shamsul Bahar Mohd Nor. The pavilion will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions through 20% energy savings achieved with eco-friendly architecture and construction.

Building the pavilion was challenging but exciting as it blends superior skills with imagination. Technology and design are combined in the right proportions to create a work of art. The special projections include an awe-inspiring waterfall effect against the backdrop of a desert landscape. The stream originates from the top of the pavilion and meanders its way down the ramp, which gives a feel of walking on a suspension bridge.

Visitors setting foot on the pavilion’s grounds will be welcomed by light poles designed to sway lightly. The pavilion graces the ground with lightweight structure, flexible for dismantling and reuse, made with just the right amount of steel.

“In line with the architectural intent of ‘touching the ground lightly’, the exhibition halls are suspended on very long slender legs, hovering 4-6 metres above the ground. The three exhibition halls which touch the earth at as few points as possible, are intended to invoke references to the tropical jungle, with allegorical tree-columns reaching up for sunlight,” Shamsul Bahar elaborated.

Situated between the Sustainability District and Mobility District at the expo site, the pavilion uses Meranti wood for its façade, making a bold statement of Malaysia’s sustainable forestry resources.

Besides illustrating its messages on sustainable development, Malaysia will leverage Expo 2020 to accelerate economic growth to tide over the COVID-19 impact while communicating to the world its sustainable solutions. “We wish to remind visitors on the need to have a sustainable outlook on life and business in these challenging times. Expo 2020 is a nodal global event contributing to the efforts of a post-COVID economic recovery,” Shamsul
Bahar explained.

As an event of prime national interest, at Expo 2020 Dubai Malaysia pavilion will host 26 thematic trade and business programme weeks led and supported by 24 government ministries, five state governments and 45 agencies. They will bring more than 200 companies as business delegates. The programmes will cover 10 industry verticals – Science, Technology, Innovation & Environment; Trade & Fourth Industrial Revolution; Health; Education; Tourism; Digital Economy; Entrepreneurship; Energy; Agriculture & Agri-commodity; and Water.

Tourism is a permanent feature as Expo 2020 serves as a platform to revive the sector that has been greatly impacted by COVID-19. A segment is dedicated to the ‘Malaysia, Truly Asia’ showcase of arts, culture and tourism with a cultural troupe specially flown in to perform more than 500 cultural shows in the pavilion amphitheatre and other expo venues. There will be arts and crafts demonstrations, and screenings daily, while Malaysia Café will serve tantalising Malaysian cuisines.

Tourism is also on the spotlight during Malaysia’s trade and business programmes. The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry will be highlighting Malaysia’s eco-tourism wonders at the Ecotourism Week (December 26, 2021– January 1, 2022), followed by the Medical Tourism Week organised by the Health Ministry and Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council from January

2-8, 2022. The International Medical Travel Journal has named Malaysia as the top international medical tourism destination for four years running.

Tourism will also be an added highlight during the weeks featuring Johor, Penang, Malacca, Selangor and Sabah states. Malaysia will bring to life its culture and tourism experience with eight Malaysian classic traditional trishaws featured on the expo grounds, which are sure to be a big hit with visitors.

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