Focus: World Expo 2020 Bid

Crystal Dreams

Crystal Dreams

Dec. 30, 2013

Should Dubai's bid to host World Expo 2020 succeed, the Emirate will use the historic opportunity to show off its accomplishments to the world.

In 1851, the first World's Fair was hosted in London, entitled “the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations." Housed in the Crystal Palace, a temporary glass structure erected in Hyde Park. The exhibition defined Great Britain's role in a newly industrializing world and flaunted its most high-tech inventions and treasures, including the Jacquard loom, the world's first voting machine, and the Koh-i-Noor, the largest known diamond at the time. Fast-forward to the modern era, and Dubai's bid, under the “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future" theme, is aimed at presenting the virtues of cooperation. Three sub-themes have also been identified, including sustainability, with a focus on lasting sources of energy and water; mobility, with a focus on smart systems of logistics and transportation; and opportunity, with a focus on new paths to economic development. Should Dubai's bid be successful, it will be the first time the World Expo has been held in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region.

Over the course of the bid, Dubai's authorities have also been vocal about the economic benefits the Emirate could reap. If Dubai were to host World Expo 2020, it has been estimated that 25 million visitors would attend between October 2020 and April 2021, “approximately 7.5 million of which will be [local] residents," said HE Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of DTCM and CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre. HE Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the UAE's Higher Committee on Hosting the World Expo 2020, has also been quoted as suggesting total economic output across Dubai would amount to an additional €28.8 billion thanks to the Expo, while 277,000 jobs would be created. Additionally, there will be an estimated 80,000-plus hotel rooms available during the event, a figure that has been growing with the increasing attractiveness of the Emirate to business and leisure tourists—9 million people visited Dubai from abroad in 2012, while two-thirds of the world's population lives within an eight-hour flight of the city.

In order to bring the Emirate a step closer to the reality of hosting the event, the master plan for the World Expo 2020 site has been drawn up. Located between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the site would be developed next to the new Al Maktoum International Airport and close to Jebel Ali Port, while covering 438 hectares. This is compared to Shanghai's 528-hectare venue in 2010, Yeosu's 25-hectares venue in 2012,Milan's 110-hectare venue in 2015, and Astana's 25-hectare venue in 2017.

With the UAE anticipating its 50th anniversary in 2021, hosting World Expo 2020 would be the perfect way to see off the half century. The Emirate now must wait eagerly until November, when the final decision will be made.

ADVERTISEMENT