Live entertainment. Outpouring of excitement.
That was the scene on Wednesday night at the elite Capital Club in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), where the most influential business figures in the country gathered to wait for the announcement from Paris about the Expo 2020.
When the announcement came after about three hours of waiting, the gathering broke out in victorious celebration. Balloons and confetti fell on the cheering crowd and everybody exchanged hugs.
“I’m feeling queasy right now because I’m so excited. I’m so happy. I’m feeling very emotional to be honest,” said Emma Cullen, general manager at the Capital Club, right after the announcement.
Cullen was hosting last night’s gathering of the top echelons of Dubai’s business community. The exclusive club was packed to near-capacity at 700 guests, hours before the big news came.
The event was a networking of sorts, where business cards changed hands over drinks and canapes. At the same time, it was a venue for celebrating Dubai’s win.
Guests enjoyed an evening of entertainment, that featured Jazz performer Anita Williams and the best of 80’s and 90’s mix by DJ Richard. Huge TV monitors and a giant projector were installed in the venue for everyone to watch the live coverage of Expo 2020 voting.
In attendance were CEOs and heads of top businesses in Dubai, from retail, oil, banking or finance sectors.
“This gathering is definitely about getting together and celebrating everything about Dubai. It’s a very business-centric night because we wanted to bring an event that would provide a platform for the media to interact with the members of the [business community] and understand what would be the potential impact of the win for Dubai,” Cullen added.
Everyone in the room agreed that the exposition is a major catalyst for economic growth not just for Dubai, but the whole UAE. Analysts have said that the exposition is expected to generate 70,000 jobs between 2013 and 2021 alone.
“Dubai has been on a winning path for the last year or two. It has the leadership that promotes winning. I came from the banking sector and we saw the rebound of Dubai from the financial crisis. The winning will give Dubai the extra impetus to move forward,” said Izzat Dajani, director of FEBC International.
“My heartfelt congratulations to the leadership of Dubai for this achievement. This is going to boost the business sector big time. The hospitality sector, the logistics sector, the job creation market—all these are expected to get a lot of value by this announcement,” said Walied Al Basheer, CEO of Inbound.