Dubai Expo 2020: Theme, preparations, effect and all you need to know – Free Press Journal

Dubai is hosting Expo 2020, a World Expo running from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. Initially, the event was slated to occur from October 2020 to April 2021 but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The person responsible for organizing this massive undertaking is Reem Al Hasimy, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister for International Affairs. This is significant, as women taking prominent leadership roles is less common in the Middle East.
It’s the first time that an event of this kind is being hosted in a Middle East/North Africa location. Experts worldwide will gather to exchange ideas and debate in their respective fields. Great minds in arts, science, and technology, to name a few will be present. First hosted in 1851 in London, the purpose of world expositions is to open up communication between individuals from disparate places. The expo also allows the host country to exhibit itself while reaping financial gain from visitors. The expo also helps boost the local economy. Many local businesses like art galleries, casinos, and tourist destinations, also have an opportunity to benefit from the additional income. World Expos are the third most significant of worldwide events, behind the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup.
The central theme for the event is ‘Connecting Minds and Creating the Future’, aiming to inspire the Expo’s visitors. This becomes clearer with the three sub categories of the theme: Sustainability, Mobility, and Opportunity. Sustainability focuses on how humans can balance highly developed societies and nature in a sustainable manner. Mobility seeks to break down the walls between digitised worlds and the physical. Finding a meeting point between the two. Opportunity highlights the connection between lives and actions.
When it was revealed that Dubai was awarded the hosting duties for 2020 Expo in 2013, the Dubai government was quick to earmark funding. They set aside a budget for developing real estate and construction. A total of $7 billion was spent on constructing the Expo site alone. An emphasis was also placed on developing the hospitality industry, specifically. This accommodates many visitors, companies, and people working with the Expo. The funds provided by the government largely contributed to the efforts of building hotels and residential real estate. As one can imagine, construction companies have thrived during the years leading up to the event. Dubai’s hotel market is now considerably larger, with an 8% growth between 2013 and 2017 and an additional 9% between 2018 and 2022.
Actor Chris Hemsworth was recruited to star in an impressive commercial showcasing the Expo. Promising a ‘world of pure imagination’ to prospective visitors. The commercial was shot in 2019, before the pandemic struck and aired with a disclaimer explaining the lack of social distancing and masks.
Criticism has been aimed at the working conditions of labourers by activists, although the response to these allegations has been minimal. Several injuries and two deaths occurred during construction, while the amount of people who contracted coronavirus during this period is unknown.
Financial experts have anticipated that the Expo would have a positive economic impact, and they have been right. After the event was announced, the UAE gained $37 billion in investments. More investments are expected. Some estimates show the increase making up approximately 10% of the country’s GDP. Most of these investments are in the tourism and real estate sectors, with foreign investors making the biggest contribution. Dubai isn’t the only country to reap these benefits, as surrounding areas have also seen an influx of visitors.
The Expo comes at a welcome time, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to damage world economies. The Expo is expected to attract between 25 and 100 million people, 70% of whom are from outside of the UAE. One should note that this figure includes people watching the events online, so Dubai will have difficulty breaking Shanghai’s 2010 record of 73 million visitors.
The Expo will be one of the most significant contributors to Dubai’s economic activity not related to oil. The sectors projected to see the largest positive impact from the Expo are construction, real estate, hospitality, and tourism. The infrastructure and transportation sectors will be the big winners thanks to the Expo. Dubai is already a global transportation hub. The infrastructure to facilitate and sustain the Expo has recently seen significant upgrades, and now it’s time to harvest the fruits. Dubai International Airport is among the five busiest airports globally, for example.
Being awarded the World Expo has provided Dubai with a tremendous economic boost during a time when most countries have suffered greatly. Despite the delay imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, the World Expo would seem to thrive and benefit the UAE greatly.
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