Dubai: The party began well before the big announcement came at 8.30pm on Wednesday. Dubai Inc was in full force at the Capital Club at the Dubai International Financial Centre which chose to ring in the celebrations with a countdown starting at 5pm.
“Everyone thought we were crazy to organise such an event even before the announcement. But Dubai has always been a winner and what better way than this to mark such a momentous occasion,” said the private club’s general manager Emma Cullen.
By the time the first round of results was out with Dubai clinching 77 votes, there were some 400 club members inside, all eyes on the two massive television screens at Al Hamra Grill Restaurant and the Lounge outside, even as a Twitter feed beamed live.
“Pure Euphoria,” said Dr Jane Wegand, member of the club’s events committee who runs the Book Club, when asked what she would call a book capturing the electric atmosphere in Dubai.
Well-heeled members and their guests glided between the club’s fourth and fifth levels, from the bar and restaurant to the terrace outside as jazz performer Anita Williams performed in the background. By 8.30pm the numbers at the club had climbed well over 600 as they burst out with mabrooks and congratulations amid a shower of confetti.
If the excitement was too much to handle, Dubai airport spa Be Relax offered free neck and back massages for anyone who asked for it. “I didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity,” said member Hamza Al Rabbi waiting his turn.
Sultan A. Al Shaali, CEO of the Al Shaali Group and a food committee member of the club, said he was there from 2pm. “Chef Tatsu, a third generation Japanese chef, has been busy preparing his best sushi. We’ve got a special French shawarma and an exquisite steak.”
No matter who you spoke to or which industry they came from, their reading of the impact of Dubai Expo 2020 was only positive.
Naveen Gilani, chief of strategy, Enshaa Real Estate, said: “Real estate plays a big part in Dubai’s economy. Expo 2020 will give it further boost.”
Asked if property prices and rentals would rise, he said: “We’re already seeing that happen. There may not be a sharp increase in the immediate future but we do expect a hockey-stick rise in due course. Equally, income levels will also go up as more jobs will be created and the market becomes more competitive.” Mark Beer, chief executive and registrar of DIFC Courts, said: “I expect significant investments in all sectors and there will be more jobs and opportunities available to all.”
Commenting on the cost of living, Mariana De Nadal, CEO of Unifrutti Asia, a major distributor of fruits and vegetables in the GCC, said: “The Expo will only consolidate Dubai’s growth. It will promote more investments but not affect prices.”
Mustafa Zafeer OV, managing director of the Mustafa & Almana Legal Lounge, said: “Expo 2020 will open the gates for manufacturing in Dubai. We can expect a lot of homegrown products.”
Goulam-Raza Amarsy, CEO, Meydan IMAX Theatre, said the entertainment sector is poised for a big leap. “We have the creativity and infrastructure. Dubai is set to become a centre for filmmaking and video game production.”