Dubai making 'great strides' for World Expo 2020

18/12/2014 - World Expo 2020
Dubai making 'great strides' for World Expo 2020

Last week, an official delegation from the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) - the governing body behind all World Expos - visited to check the progress of the 2020 edition of the event, which will be held in Dubai.

In a statement, the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee explained that the purpose of the visit was to build on the ongoing partnership with the BIE and to provide it with an update of the emirate's progress.

BIE secretary general Vicente Loscertales said: "As the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asian region, Expo 2020 is on course to become a truly meaningful event; one that is a platform for partnerships and innovation and one that leverages the global convening power of World Expos to bring together different identities and experiences from hundreds of nations, companies and international organisations in ways that we have not seen before."

Dubai has made great strides since the announcement was made back in November 2013 that it had been chosen as the host nation for the 2020 edition of the event, with its winning theme 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future'.

Since then, both the public and private sectors have been making infrastructural changes that will ensure the enormous exhibition goes off without a hitch.

Here's a look back over Dubai's World Expo journey so far.

Mega projects

In June, work started on several mega projects that will work to make Dubai a more attractive location for business and leisure tourists alike in the run up to 2020. The government announced it would invest around AED25 billion (£4.35 billion) in developments that would strengthen the emirate's infrastructure and all work would be completed by October 2019.

The projects that were announced back then included nine new beaches and four separate islands, a shopping mall, a 30,000-seat amphitheatre and a marina that will be built to accommodate large yachts.

Early finish

It was also announced in June that the project would be finished at least a year before the Expo opens its doors to the public in October 2020, allowing at least 12 months to run tests and iron out any issues that may arise.

The Expo Village, which will be a residential area built to house all staff working at the event, will be finished by 2018 and then construction will start on the pavilions that will hold the exhibition itself.  

Preparations have now started to ready the 438-hectare site that will house the six-month event and accommodate the 25 million visitors expected to make their way to Dubai's World Trade Centre (WTC) - 17 million of which will be coming from outside the UAE and overseas.

Attracting investors

A survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers, released in July, described Dubai as an increasingly attractive option for investors as optimism about economic growth in the Middle East had been significantly boosted by the emirate's winning World Expo 2020 bid.

Respondents to the poll rated Dubai the most attractive region in the UAE for projects surrounding infrastructure and capital.

The report also revealed that the preparations being undertaken by Dubai to ready itself for the event have actually positively impacted other sectors, particularly the tourism industry.

Boosted economy

According to Jones Lang LaSalle, winning the Expo 2020 will massively boost the economy in Dubai and the wider UAE over the next six years.

The professional services and investment management company has predicted that the event will have a significant impact on job creation, as it is likely to increase tourism in the emirate and lead to an upswing in the number of real estate transactions that are carried out between now and 2020.

Alan Robertson, regional chief executive of Jones Lang LaSalle, added: “Perhaps the greatest benefit from hosting major global events, be they Olympic Games, football World Cups or World Expos, lies not in the immediate impact on the host economy during the event itself, but in leveraging these short-term factors to create positive long-term legacy benefits to the economy and the urban structure of the host city.”

Posted by Bob Brunskill