Expo 2020: ‘Impressed’ BIE team ends UAE visit

Committee chief praises country’s infrastructure and level of national support for Dubai's bid

Image Credit: Courtesy Government of Dubai
After visiting the UAE and examining Dubai’splans to stage Expo 2020, a delegation from theBureau International des Expositions held a pressconference yesterday with senior officials.
Gulf News

Dubai: Concluding its Enquiry Mission on Thursday, the delegation representing the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the body responsible for World Expo, said the visit was a productive one.

Steen Christiansen, Chairman of the BIE Executive Committee, said: “We have had a productive and enjoyable visit to the UAE and thank the leadership for their hospitality. We have been particularly impressed by the country’s robust infrastructure and the level of national support for the bid.”

He added that the delegation cannot disclose its final assessment of the country’s bid before June. The four-day visit saw the delegation meeting with the country’s government and business leaders, thereby assessing the UAE’s ability to welcome the 25 million expected visitors, of which 70 per cent would come from outside the nation for the first time in World Expo history.

Thanking the delegation for its time and focus during the visit, Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group, in his capacity as Chairman of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, said: “If our country’s bid is successful, a World Expo in Dubai will attract new opportunities across the region and around the world, establishing new partnerships and creating a lasting experience for everyone who visits and participates.”

Dubai is competing against four other cities bidding to host the 2020 Expo. The winner will be announced in November.

As a result of the visit, the enquiry mission will prepare a report detailing their recommendation to all BIE member states as to whether Dubai and the UAE would be a feasible host for the World Expo 2020. The report will be presented at the next BIE general assembly in Paris in June 2013.

“We have had a productive and enjoyable visit to the UAE and thank the leadership for their hospitality,” Christensen said. “We have been particularly impressed by the country’s robust infrastructure and the level of national support for the bid. The UAE has put forward a strong case to hold Expo 2020 in Dubai — the vision of the project is clear and lined to the traditions and values of World Expos.”

Dubai is competing against four other candidate cities bidding to host the 2020 edition of the global gathering. The winner will be announced in November 2013 following a vote by the 163 member nations of the BIE.

After two more remaining visits to the last candidates — Russia and Brazil — the BIE enquiry mission, which visits each of the candidate cities, will prepare a report detailing their recommendation to the member states outlining Dubai and the UAE’s feasibility and plans for hosting the World Expo 2020.

Further, an economic impact study by Oxford Economics into Dubai Expo 2020 concluded that the total economic output across the Dubai economy would amount to 28.8 billion euros, as well as creating more than 277,000 jobs between 2013 and 2021.

“Importantly, for every Expo employee, approximately 50 additional jobs will be sustained across the Middle East and north African economy,” said Shaikh Ahmad.

He added that if Dubai succeeds in its bid, it will attract opportunities across the region as well as globally.

Other officials present at Thursday’s conference included Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaibani, Director-General of His Highness the Ruler’s Court of Dubai and Deputy Chairman of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai; Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and the Committee’s Managing Director; Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre, besides directors of a number of Dubai government departments and government senior officials.