The BIE currently regulates 4 types of Exhibitions, or "Expos" : World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano. Each in its own field aims at educating the public, sharing innovation, promoting progress and allowing dialogue and shared experience. They are an extraordinary way to reach out to a broad audience and a place where influencers, experts, the civil society and political representatives can work together.
What is an Expo?
Like the World's Fairs of the pre-BIE era, World Expos welcome tens of millions of visitors, allow countries to build extraordinary pavilions and can transform the landscape of a city for years to come.
However, the main difference with the Expos of those times is that World Expos are no longer solely dedicated to showcasing industrial progress and showing off national prestige. They have become discussion platforms aimed at finding solutions to universal challenges of our time, such as urbanism (Expo 2010 Shanghai) or nutrition (Expo 2015 Milan).
They take place every 5 years and last up to 6 months.
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Specialised Expos as we know them today were established by the BIE in 1988. They are global events dedicated to finding solutions to precise challenges of humanity, such as ocean protection (Expo 2012 Yeosu) or the future of energy (Expo 2017 Astana). Their entertainment and intellectual ambition is the same as World Expos but the event is smaller in size and participant countries don't build their own pavilion but can customise a space provided by the organiser. They were created to allow a maximum number of countries to host and participate to an Expo.
They take place between 2 World Expos and last up to 3 months.
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Horticultural Expos were brought into the scope of the BIE in 1959, a year before the first Expo of this kind. They are held under the joint auspices of the BIE and the Association of International Horticultural Producers (AIPH). Due to their international character, their duration (3 to 6 months), their size (50 ha minimum), their millions of visitors and the importance given to innovation and education, Horticultural Expos are in a way the World Expos of Horticulture.
At least two years must separate two Horticultural Expos.
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The Triennale di Milano is the only BIE-regulated Expo that is always organised in the same city: Milan. It is a unique global meeting place for the key players of the design industry and the general public. As the nature of the Triennale matched the criteria set by the Convention of 1928 to describe an Expo, it was brought under the scope of the BIE's regulatory activity as early as 1933.
It takes place every 3 years, with a break between 1996 and 2016.
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