Dubai was officially named the Host City of Expo 2020 on Wednesday as the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) met for its 158th general assembly in Paris. The 168-member governing body unanimously ratified the Expo 2020 Registration Document, which set out detailed plans laid out by Dubai for the Expo 2020.

In effect, the ratification moves Expo 2020 from the planning phase to delivery phase. Dubai will now be able to make formal engagement with international participants, including nations, corporations, multilateral organisations, NGOs and academic institutions. This next phase will also see the continuation and extension of existing stakeholder initiatives, both domestic and international, including the current series of BusinessConnect workshops, the annual Youth Connect event, and ongoing dialogue with young entrepreneurs, regional SMEs and global thought leaders.

‘Historic day’

Also representing the UAE delegation at the General Assembly in Paris was Reem Al Hashemi, UAE Minister of State and Managing Director of the Higher Committee for the World Expo 2020, who said that it was “a historic day for Dubai.”

Al Hashemi said that she aimed to see participation from over 180 countries at the Expo 2020.

“As the site develops, 2016 and 2017 will be characterised primarily by design. 2018 and 2019 will see heavy construction as the buildings take shape and international participants start developing their own spaces within the site. Finally in 2019 and the early months of 2020, focus will be placed on curating inspiration and exciting exhibits and transforming the site to an active and inspiring destination. Since the bid win, we have used the time effectively for to build our teams, establish a resilient governance structure, develop our delivery plans and set the ground work for what we are hoping will be an exceptional World Expo,” she said.

Economic impact

Al Hashemi said that the event will have a “considerable impact” on the economy, with increased demand in construction, hospitality, and transport specifically.

“The opportunity to host a World Expo will result in a multiplier effect on Dubai’s economy, the impact of which will last well beyond the 2020 period. We do believe that Dubai Expo 2020 will not only benefit Dubai and the UAE, but will also create a lasting impact across the region and beyond,” she said.

Al Hashemi said that hosting the Expo was part of the UAE’s Vision 2021, which is to place the country among the best in the world by the Golden Jubilee of the Union.

The Expo 2020 Registration Document was officially submitted to the BIE for review in July, and provided detailed information about the event.

This included the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, the site master plan, participant and visitor engagement strategies, communications and marketing, business operations, sustainability, and the post-event legacy.

The Expo 2020 in Dubai will open its gates to the world on October 20, 2020. It is set to be the most international event in World Expo history, welcoming more than 25 million visits over its six-month duration. The vast majority of visitors (some 70%) are expected to come from overseas.

Expo 2020 Dubai will take place on a purpose-built 438-hectare venue at Dubai Trade Centre – Jebel Ali, located midway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It will run from October 2020 through to April 2021.


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