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Great expectations: Expo 2020 to bring solid economic dividends

More than 60 million people travel through the emirate while 10 million visit the city every year, thanks to a world-class airport and a global airline

  • By Saifur Rahman Associate Editor
  • Published: 18:01 June 14, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archives
  • It’s all systems go in Dubai no matter the weather. The unrelenting work ethic the emirate has ingrained in its residents may set it apart from its World Expo 2020 rivals.

Paris

When Dubai does something, it does it in style – goes the saying. However, it’s not a myth. The emirate has, over the years, demonstrated this. Be it the Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group or the World Energy Forum, Dubai hosts them in style.

World Expo 2020 won’t be an exception, should Dubai wins the bid in November. Some analysts say, Dubai ‘could be the best thing for World Expo’ as the emirate has great plans for the event.

As the Dubai’s Expo 2020 yacht ‘True North’ circumnavigates the world to spread the key message, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ – the four bidding cities – Dubai (UAE), Izmir (Turkey), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Yekaterinburg (Russia) - have intensified their campaign to win the bid to host EWorld xpo 2020.

Dubai is one of the front-runners to secure the bid, which will be announced in November following a vote by BIE’s 166 members.

True to the theme, Dubai is building its future based on connectivity – connecting people, cultures, civilisations and values. More than 60 million people travel through the emirate while more than 10 million visit the city every year, thanks to a world-class airport and a global airline that are collectively helping the government fulfil its vision.

Dubai is connected to 220 global cities directly non-stop – to six continents – a rare feat for the world’s top global hubs.

“Dubai Expo 2020 will leave a lasting legacy not only in the UAE but also beyond its borders. As our theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ suggests, Dubai Expo 2020 aims to welcome the world to collaborate and build partnerships for sustainable development,” Reem Al Hashemi, UAE Minister of State and Managing Director of the UAE’s Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, said. “In that, Dubai Expo 2020 will spur significant employment, trade and investment opportunities for the entire MENASA region, leaving lasting economic impact.”

When a trader from Ghana plans to import auto spare parts or car accessories, he flies to Dubai – to source them, be it a Japanese, Korean or Chinese products. Similarly, a mobile phone trader from East or West Africa has only one destination to source products from – Dubai, although the emirate does not manufacture them.

Chinese traders mostly travel to Dubai first, before going to Central Asian or African markets in search of businesses. Dubai has become one of the biggest enablers of global trade.

Analysts feel that it’s high time that the World Expo, which has never been held in the Middle East or the Arab World, in its 162-year history, takes place in the Arab World. Dubai, which does things in style — could perhaps be the best host of the global event.

“Dubai has consistently proved its credentials as a global showcase of splendour, perfection, elegance, right cultural fit and value for money,” Tariq Chauhan, Group Managing Director of EFS Facilities Services LLC, told Gulf News.

“It has a world class infrastructure that is crucial for such an event — by far making it the most deserving destination to host such an event,” he said.

Chauhan says ancillary services are bound to get a direct impact as small shopping and other small and medium enterprises (SMEs) usually flourishes with any upsurge of tourists in the catchment areas.

“Above all, the domestic industries of the UAE will be able to showcase their products and it boasts of large SMEs in this segment,” he says. “Besides, business tourists are usually large leisure spenders in context to dining out, entertainment and often brings families.

Last year, the UAE had become the world’s 18th biggest exporter of merchandise products with $300 billion in total exports and re-exports. It had also ranked 23rd biggest importer of goods with $220 billion in total imports. The biggest beneficiaries of the UAE’s trade are the countries in the Middle East, Africa, Central, South and Southeast Asia.

In that way, Dubai is one of the world’s most globalised city. However, if the World Expo 2020 is held in Dubai, it will host 25 million visitors, officials say.

“Keeping in mind tourism vision 2020 and with the announcement of recent jumbo projects, such as Dubai design district and MBR city, it shows Dubai has clear vision to be tourism destination,” Jitendra Gianchandani, Chairman of JCA Group, told Gulf News. “As event evolves participation of more than 200+ countries and hang about longer term up to six months. I guess direct tangible benefits, particular in Dubai and in UAE in general, will be to tourism, hotel, infrastructure, retail and health sectors.

“The UAE will see favourable impact of world expo on its economy for at least next ten years after its conclusion in 2020. And it will set the platform for the world leaders to solve the ever increasing economic and cultural issues in the post era of crisis,” he said.

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