One day, in a future pub quiz, there may be posed the trick question: “In which year did the 2020 Summer Olympics and 2020 World Expo take place?” The answer, of course, is “2021”, both events – in Tokyo and Dubai, respectively – having been delayed a year by the Covid-19 pandemic, and both having to go ahead with fewer visitors in attendance as a result. As the new year begins, it remains unclear how much disruption Covid-19 will continue to wreak on the cultural, music and sporting events that would normally attract huge numbers of visitors from around the world. However, here’s a run-down of some of those that could still draw big crowds. January 5 – February 28: Although its famed sculptures have been accessible to the public since December 25, the 38th Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival officially opens on January 5. The world’s largest ice and snow festival attracts between 10 million and 15 million people (some reports claim 18 million) each year. Few, if any, international tourists will be able to reach Harbin, in Heilongjiang, northern China, in the coming weeks given Covid-19 restrictions, but since the vast majority of visitors each year are domestic, the numbers viewing the spectacle should still be impressive. 5 best new places to eat and drink in Bali’s buzzing Canggu area “The procedures to attend the festival 2022 are similar to Harbin Ice Festival 2020–2021,” advises tour website China Highlights. “You will need to show your health code and evidence of your previous 14 days’ travel, wear a mask and have your body temperature taken before entering the park. “Depending on how the pandemic affects things, activities, including performances, firework shows, interactive facilities, or other special celebrations for New Year’s Eve and the Spring Festival, might be cancelled.” February 4 – February 20: Final preparations for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 are being made under the clouds of coronavirus and a threatened diplomatic boycott led by the United States. Definitely missing will be overseas sports fans, Beijing having made it clear in September that it would make no exceptions to its strict Covid-19 entry restrictions for foreign tourists wanting to attend the extravaganza. The estimated 2,900 athletes, who will exist in a “closed-loop bubble”, must be fully vaccinated or face 21 days’ quarantine upon arrival. They will also be tested daily. February 25 – March 5: Despite at least 58 Brazilian cities having cancelled their 2022 carnival celebrations over Covid-19 fears, the mother of them all, the Rio Carnival , is still expected to go ahead. Arguably the biggest festival – and wildest party – in the world, the carnival attracts nearly 5 million people in a normal year, with 500,000 or so being visitors from overseas. Currently, to enter Brazil, visitors must present proof of Covid-19 vaccination approved by Anvisa, the country’s health surveillance agency, a negative test result taken within 72 hours of boarding a plane to fly there and a completed Traveller’s Health Declaration. May 27 – December 24: “Join us for a concert 40 years in the making,” beckons the ABBA Voyage website. Not having entertained a live audience since 1980, the Swedish pop legends are making a comeback, albeit in digital form. Avatars of Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid will “perform” alongside a live 10-piece band seven or more times a week in a custom-built arena in London, England’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Seating options include booths in which groups of up to 12 can dance, jive, having the time of their life (to quote Abba’s song Dancing Queen) on their own dance floor in their own bubble. August 31: The young people of Bunol, in Spain’s Valencia province, have been throwing tomatoes at one another since 1945, but it wasn’t until 2002 that La Tomatina was declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest by Spain’s General Secretariat of Tourism. Since then, the last Wednesday of each August has seen the fun get messier and the festival bigger (attracting about 22,000 participants) – until 2020, when Covid-19 spoiled the party. After two cancelled years, the countdown is back on and throwing arms are being flexed. September 17 to October 3: Another annual European festival that fell victim to Covid-19 in 2020 and 2021 was the Oktoberfest in Munich , Germany. It’s hoped that come this September, Dieter Reiter will once again be able to open the beer festival with the traditional “ O’zapft is! ”, the exclamation made during the tapping of the first barrel by the mayor of Munich in the Schottenhamel tent. Whether visitor numbers at the 187th Oktoberfest reach the 6.3 million who attended in 2019 remains to be seen. On the other hand, the event could yet be cancelled for the 27th time in its history. According to the official website, Oktoberfest was first called off in 1813 – four years after it began – during the Napoleonic wars. Since then, further conflicts, inflation and cholera – as well as Covid-19, of course – have all temporarily stopped the beer flowing. October 1 & 2: At Mongolia’s Golden Eagle Festival , held annually on the first weekend in October, nomadic Kazakh tribesmen celebrate the traditional hunting practices of the Altai Mountains. Up to 100 rivals pit their eagles against one another, to see which bird is in the best shape for the upcoming hunting season. Also showcased are traditional Kazakh and Mongolian games such as camel races, archery, feats of horsemanship and tugs of war. Whether it will be possible for international visitors to reach Bayan-Ulgii, the province in western Mongolia that hosts the festival, by October remains to be seen – it is currently not possible for foreign nationals without long-stay visas, residence permits or business visas to enter the country – but many tour agencies are selling packages online that include a visit to this year’s festivities, or to smaller eagle festivals held in September. November 21-December 18: Like the Winter Olympics, the 22nd Fifa World Cup has been beset by problems other than just Covid-19. In this case, concerns have been raised about corruption in the awarding of the event to Qatar and the treatment of the workers who have built stadiums under the scorching Middle Eastern sun. All being well, though, Asia’s second football World Cup (following the 2002 event, shared by Japan and South Korea) and the first to be held in the northern hemisphere winter, is expected to welcome an estimated 1.5 million fans. There are, however, only around 175,000 hotel rooms for visitors travelling to the country, the BBC reports. So, in 2019, Qatar signed a deal with a cruise company to lease two luxury liners, which will be docked in Doha Port during the tournament, providing 4,000 cabins for visitors. Alternatively, fans can stay in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates and catch a 70-minute flight from Dubai to Doha for games. Hopefully, by the time the Qatar team kick off the tournament in the Al Bayt Stadium, exacting anti-Covid protocols will no longer be a travel necessity.