World Expo 2020 a ‘win-win’ situation for Dubai

November 27, 2013 1:15 pm

City will come out on top regardless of bid’s outcome, says Al Masah Captial’s CEO

Dubai would be the first city in the Mena region to host the event, the highly celebrated international exhibition, if it wins the bid today.

The UAE launched its campaign to host the World Expo 2020 two years ago. The official intention to bid was submitted under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, with a simple and effective theme: Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.

A recent report by Al Masah Capital looks into the potential of a win and its possible repercussions, as well as the history of the expo and its profound legacy. In essence, the third largest global non-commercial event, behind the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup in terms of size and significance, is a win-win situation for the emirate.

“With its level of infrastructure and the international branding synonymous with excellence, Dubai will come out on top regardless of the outcome of the bid,” says Shailesh Dash, CEO of Al Masah, adding that: “When you see the bigger picture, the fact that it’s on the shortlist has already contributed tangibly to its image. The world now knows that Dubai is a viable place for investment, work and for any major event to be staged.

“Our analysis shows that the total combined effort will not be in vain. According to our study, the combined immediate output and historical legacy from the bid will be profoundly positive and will serve as an engine of sustainable growth and progress not only for Dubai, but the UAE in general, as well as providing an indelible progressive image of the Mena region that is vastly different from general world-view and perception.”

The World Expo is held every five years and attracts millions of visitors to the host city during its six-month duration. More than displaying major technological novelties, the expo’s role is oriented towards interpreting the collective challenges that the world faces today.

Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales, secretary-general of Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), says: “The expo is a unique event of international co-operation, dedicated to the communication of innovation and promotion of a global dialogue on themes that engage the entire world community.”

The Al Masah Capital report highlights how the expos have given the world some of its most memorable landmarks and inventions. One of the most famous international structures, the Eiffel Tower, was commissioned as the entrance archway to the Paris Expo in 1889, so were the Space Needle (Seattle Expo in 1962) and the Atomium (Brussels Expo in 1958). They have been famous for introducing the public to an eclectic range of discoveries and inventions, including the telephone, commercial typewriter, automatic windows, superhighway system, sky train and edible ice-cream cone.

The last World Expo was held between May 1, 2010, and October 31, 2010, in Shanghai, China. The Shanghai World Expo, which cost $4.2 billion, according to government figures, set many records. It involved the largest number of countries (192 countries and 50 international organisations), received 73 million visitors and was the most expensive.

Expos work as economic catalysts, as they generate economic benefits for the host country in the form of increased tourism, job opportunities and hospitality revenues. They also provide financial benefits, both during the run-up to the event and after, in terms of large construction activities and investments from outside the country.