Dubai: Exhibitors from all over the world are expected to come here for the World Expo in 2020, if Dubai has its way in winning a planned bid.
The bid - announced on Sunday by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice- President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as part of Vision 2020 - reflects the government's determination to reinforce Dubai's position as a trade, tourism and financial hub.
Dubai has already established its position as the region's largest meetings, incentive, convention and exhibition (Mice) hub through the flagship facilities in the Dubai World Trade Centre, which last year attracted 1.1 million business visitors.
At the rate of $200 (Dh734) spent per visitor, this could translate into $220 million injected into the emirate's economy, the gross domestic product of which last year reached $54 billion.
DWTC was created as a platform for international businesses to enter the regional market and network with the regional players for mutual benefit and exposure.
The government is further investing heavily in expanding the expo facilities by developing an Exhibition City in Jebel Ali, which will host the world's largest free-standing exhibition hall. This, along with the existing Airport Expo, will help Dubai cement its position in the market.
Last week, while Dubai expressed its intention to host Olympic Games and the World Expo in 2020, the UAE won the bid to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).
Shaikh Mohammad said in a statement: "The Dubai 2020 initiative will look at how we can shape our environment and society for future generations. Dubai is already home to people from different nationalities and cultures who live in friendship and peace."
With an enviable location and dynamic atmosphere, Dubai has all the facilities for the success of any event.
Dubai has earned a solid reputation as a global venue to host successful international events, such as the annual meetings of the board of governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group in 2003, the annual Dubai Tennis Championship, Dubai World Cup, the Arabian Travel Market, Cityscape, Gitex, the Big 5 Show, and Index.
It has also hosted the World Economic Forum's pre-event meetings recently that attracted hundreds of scholars and policymakers to Dubai.
As a prominent city and trade hub between East and West, Dubai also offers itself as an ideal venue for the World Expo.
Shaikh Mohammad said: "These two global events, the Olympic Games and World Expo, give us a sense of common purpose and play to our strengths".
The World Expo is the third largest, global, non-commercial event in terms of economic and cultural impact, after Fifa World Cup and the Olympic Games.
Dubai Police chief Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim told Gulf News that although Dubai already has the necessary infrastructure for hosting events of global importance, this will be greatly expanded by 2020. These including boosting hotel capacity and airport.
Senior government officials, who have been nominated to be part of the future bidding team, have expressed their optimism in bringing these events to Dubai.
Tamim, a member of the working group created to bid for these major events, told Gulf News: "There is no doubt that Dubai is a mega city which is able to host such a large exhibition. In addition to Dubai's strategic location between East and West, the international standard of security, infrastructure and services in Dubai ensure the potential of hosting World Expo in 2020."
Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, described Shaikh Mohammad's initiative "Dubai 2020" as an "ambitious initiative that suits the ambitious country UAE".
He told Gulf News: "We should benefit from this initiative and as much as we work in a correct way, we will meet the desirable target". This initiative is considered to be the right way for better investment in the human resources of the UAE.
Moreover, it is a good chance to portray the lifestyle and the ideal coexistence of people of different nationalities in the UAE, he added.
"It is one of the difficult challenges that UAE usually seeks to achieve."
Dubai Municipality's director-general, Hussain Nasser Lootah, said: "Although a big team was appointed to look at the possibility of hosting World Expo, I do believe that Dubai is up to it and will be successful in hosting World Expo in 2020".
"Dubai has the essential bases of success and we are not worried about hosting such a huge Expo."
"Every year Dubai brings tens of international and big exhibitions and events&"
Government support and the infrastructure and the services Dubai enjoys would make hosting World Expo possible, he said.
Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports, said: "The leadership and vision of Shaikh Mohammad has made Dubai what it is today - a world leader in commerce, trade, tourism and aviation.
"Dubai Airports is in step with this inspired vision and approach. Our expansion plans for Dubai International and Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International ensure we will have the state-of-the art infrastructure and capacity in place to create a lasting first impression as we welcome even more of the world to Dubai."
Asia's exhibition industry revenues last year
sq metres Asian exhibition space up for sales
visitors at Dubai World Trade Centre exhibitions last year
population of Dubai last year
Dubai World Expo is a large public exhibition that has been held since the middle of the 19th century to showcase achievements in art, design, education and trade.
It is the Olympic Games of economy, science and technology.
World Expo originated in the French tradition of national exhibitions, a tradition that culminated with the French Industrial Exposition of 1844 in Paris.
It was soon followed by other national exhibitions in continental Europe and finally came to London where the first real international exhibitions were held.
World expositions have evolved since 1851.
Three eras can be distinguished: the era of industrialisation, the era of cultural exchange, and the era of nation branding.
Countries started to use world expositions more widely and more strongly as a platform to improve their national images through their pavilions.
Today's world expositions embody elements of all three eras.
They present new inventions, facilitate cultural exchange based on a theme, and are used for city, region and nation branding.
World Expo aims to promote several aspects of society including art and design, education, culture, science, international trade, technology and tourism.
Countries must apply for the hosting rights, and the bid is then approved by the international World Expo committee.
World Expo offers people an opportunity to come together and discuss the many global issues that face humankind.
It is a place to bring together the world's talent to create a model community for the future where humans can live in harmony with nature.
Participants are involved in planning global networks based on the model community and there are plans for off-site symposia, tie-in exhibitions, and much more. There is an opportunity for growth and networking for everyone.
In 2005, the World Expo was hosted in Aichi in Japan. China will host World Expo 2010 in Shanghai.