Dubai: As November 2013 inches closer, when a final vote will go out for which city bags the World Expo 2020 deal, Dubai and the UAE is gearing up to play the host nation.
Dubai is competing against four other candidate cities bidding to host the 2020 edition of the monumental global gathering, that is expected to attract 25 million visitors. The winner will be announced in November following a vote by the 163 member nations of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the Paris-based inter-governmental organisation responsible for World Expo.
Commenting on why Dubai would make a perfect host city for the UAE’s bid to host the Expo, Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline, said: “Dubai has the infrastructure, ability, expertise and desire to make the Expo work, I don’t know many cities that could effectively deal with an event like this, but Dubai will be able to, and do so comfortably. The emirate’s trump card is access. An Expo needs to be in a city that is connected, and is geographically well positioned, Dubai is both.”
He added that by 2020, Emirates will have a fleet of around 250 wide-bodied aircraft, and will have added approximately 30 more destinations.
Dubai World Central, meanwhile, will provide additional capacity to accommodate the anticipated boost in traffic that would result from a successful bid, according to Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports, which, he says, “will be needed to support the UAE’s rapidly growing role as the region’s trade and logistics hub”.
On the hotels front, meanwhile, the UAE now has more hotels per head of population than any other country in the world, says Gerald Lawless, President and Group CEO, Jumeirah Group. “We will have more than enough capacity. I imagine we would cope better than anyone else from the point of view of being able to absorb all the extra visitors that would attend Expo 2020,” he said.
Further asked what the bid’s theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the future’ mean to Etisalat, Saleh Al Abdooli, CEO, Etisalat, said: “This theme could not be more appropriate for Etisalat. We believe in the ability of the World Expo to gather minds to address the major global challenges we face today, and those we will face tomorrow. The UAE is a trade, tourism and telecommunications hub, and we connect so many people in so many ways every day, not just in terms of straightforward communication, but also culturally and societally.”
On similar lines, DP World’s Group CEO, Mohammad Sharaf, said: “Ours is a business that invests for the long term and we understand from experience how connecting across borders at an individual, community and country level creates a successful future, bringing down barriers between people and generating benefits for all. And, like Expo 2020, we are also strong believers in the importance of partnership.”