In a few years from now, Dubai – one of the youngest, yet most modern cities in the world, will host the World Expo 2020 under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. Held every five years, world expos are the largest public trade fairs and run for six months, showing the latest and biggest technological advancements in a number of industries.
Dubai Expo 2020 is expected to attract 25 million visitors, create nearly 300,000 new jobs, and to immensely boost the economy in the emirate and in the whole region. All sounds well, but here are 10 facts about the Expo you probably didn’t know.
1. The event will be for the fisrt time held in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. To realize the importance of this fact, you should know that nearly a quarter of the world’s population lives in this region. An expo in Dubai? It was about time!
2. The upcoming world’s fair will take place in Milan, starting in May, 2015, focusing on “Feeding the planet, Energy for Life”. And probably to gain some experience, Dubai will have its own pavilion in the Italian city.
3. The first fair, recognized as a world expo, is the 1851’s Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in London. It was held in The Crystal Palace, which was especially constructed in Hyde Park to house the expo. It was designed in such a way, so that it would be recycled to recoup the losses of such a huge event, but due to its popularity, it became permanent. Well, we could say it was destined to be destroyed – a fire broke in 1936, annihilating it completely.
4. Typically, buildings are erected for the purposes of the expos, and dismantled after the fair closes. However, some constructions stayed, notably the Eiffel’s Tower, Paris’ most famous symbol and landmark, the iconic Space Needle in Seattle, and a lot more. The UAE’s pavilion from Expo 2010 is currently in Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.
5. For the right to host Expo 2020, Dubai raced against Sao Poulo, Ekaterinburg, Izmir, and Ayutthaya. But these weren’t the only candidates – the United States had not one, but several efforts, including New York, Houston, Las Vegas and San Francisco.
6. While in past, World Expos were very popular, they weren’t actually visited by huge crowds of people. Expo 2010 in China’s Shanghai, however, attracted more than 73 million visitors – several times its size of 24 million people.
7. Shanghai spent nearly $2 billion in the operating costs of the Expo, but still made a profit of $157 million. However, the total investment was nearly $50 billion (in preparation, building infrastructure, and so on), which despite the popularity of the event, led to massive losses.
8. Dubai will invest at least $7 billion to prepare for World Expo 2020. There is no way to predict how many people will visit it or how many they will spent, but to avoid financial catastrophe, authorities and organizers in Dubai need to make sure the event will be popular. Very, very popular.
9- Dubai Expo 2020, which will stretch to 2021 too, will coincide with UAE’s 50th anniversary. The country was established in 1971 as a federation of seven different emirates and every year, on December 2, the nation is celebrating its unification and independence with massive events and fireworks, often running for a month. Imagine the festivities in 2021.
10. When the Expo 2020 master plan was revealed, it showed that the event site will be 438 hectares, of which 150-hectare place will be a dedicated Expo area. This is slightly less than Shanghai expo site of 5,28 sq. km. But to compare the two cities, we need to note that while Dubai’s population is merely 2 million or so people, more than 21 million live in Shanghai. And this is just its urban area!
We can’t really compare Dubai to other Expo host cities, as each one of them has its bright and darker sides. But these are the facts – so, don’t be surprised if the predictions about Expo 2020 doesn’t become a reality. In five years, Dubai may shine as a successful example of modern, sustainable, and smart city. But the scale itself of the world’s fair can make it crumble down with a bang.