If successful, Dubai’s bid to host the World Expo 2020 will stimulate investment in the city’s tourism and events infrastructure, according to tourism officials who heralded it as the first “truly international” expo in history.
The World Expo event, first held in London in 1851, is the third largest event in the world after the Olympics and the soccer World Cup, and takes place every five years for a period of six months.
Howaida Rabee, marketing manager of Falcon, the firm in charge of the bid, forecast hosting the event would create 275,000 jobs in Dubai over the next eight years, attracting more than 25 million unique visitors and 33 million visits.
She predicted that 70% of visitors would be international, making it the first Expo to attract a foreign majority.
The plans include the creation of a new convention centre along with at the proposed site in Jebel Ali, along with transport infrastructure and hotel projects.
Its legacy for the region is an important part of the proposal, with the 438 hectare site to remain the site of the convention centre, a museum and a university after the event has finished.
“The development will also demonstrate sustainability and innovative energy solutions,” Rabee said.
Dubai’s submission proposed to hold the event from October 2020 until April 2021 making it the first time the event would be held over two years.
"It’s Dubai’s 50th anniversary in 2021, so it would be the perfect way to celebrate,” Rabee added.
Dubai is facing competition from Yekaterinburg in Russia, Brazil’s Sao Paolo, Ayutthaya in Thailand and Izmir in Turkey. The decision will be announced in November this year.
However, even if unsuccessful, the bidding process will have played an important role, according to Piers Screiber, vice president communications of Dubai-based hotel firm Jumeirah.
“The efforts to making people aware of what Dubai has to offer are just as important as the bid itself,” he told Travel Today.