Business | Tourism

Expo to boost Dubai economy

Successful Expo bid likely to spur growth in visitors to 25 million in six months

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

  • Image Credit: Asghar Khan/Gulf News Archives
  • The Dubai Museum. Tourism is a vital pillar of Dubai’s economy.

Paris: Tourism is a vital pillar of Dubai’s economy and has contributed to the city’s economic growth, success and diversification, says Helal Saeed Al Merri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and CEO of the Dubai World Trade Centre.

“With the strength of Dubai’s infrastructure, geographic location and global connectivity, Dubai Expo 2020 can expect to attract 25 million visitors during the six months between October 2020 and April 2021, 71 per cent of which would originate from outside the host nation for the first time in Expo history,” he said.

“This is important because the additional demand created by World Expo would provide real and exciting opportunities in employment, new attractions and incentives for the travel and tourism sector, not just for the UAE but for neighbouring countries in the region and beyond.”

Bid results for the World Expo 2020 will be announced in November, a few weeks after the launch of scheduled commercial flights from Al Maktoum International Airport – the world’s largest greenfield airport project, which is part of the 140-square kilometre aerotropolis – Dubai World Centre – where the Expo 2020 will take place, should Dubai wins the bid.

“A large majority of Expos and global events, such as the Olympics and the World Cup, end up providing a financial loss for the host nation. The normal outcome is of financial overruns on construction, modest increases in tourism revenues and a legacy of unwanted infrastructure and buildings, which are underutilised after the event,” Andrew Scott, Professor of Economics and Deputy Dean of London Business School, said.

However, there are spillover advantages to becoming a host city. “If Expo is hosted in an area with good logistics, such as Dubai, the inefficiencies and deadweight loss of development seen in host cities of major sports events, for instance, are minimised,” he asserts.

“Given Dubai’s infrastructure and the current state of the property market, hosting Expo should give both a short-term boost to the economy and with relatively small long run adverse effects.”

Dubai’s bid winning means that the World Expo will be held in the Arab world for the first time. As the region gradually integrates with the global economy, international community will more than compliment it by awarding an Arab city to host this global event.

“In today’s increasingly connected world, humanity’s challenges cannot be solved alone. In the UAE, we believe in the convening power of the World Expo. Together, we have the ability to identify global concerns, stimulate new ideas and generate solutions for a better, brighter future,” said Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State and Managing Director of the UAE’s Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai.

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