Accompanied by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed toured the 4.38 sq km site and discussed the latest progress of the World's Greatest Show.
"We are ready and remain true to our promise of hosting the best Expo edition yet in its 168-year history," he tweeted after the visit.
According to the global consultancy firm Ernst & Young, Expo 2020 Dubai's long-term investment in the future of the country will boost its economy by Dh122.6 billion and support 905,200 job-years (defined as full-time employment for one person for one year and describes the employment impact over the life or phase of a project) between 2013 and 2031.
During the peak six-month period of the World Expo, the largest event to be held in the Arab World is predicted to add the equivalent of 1.5 per cent to UAE gross domestic product (GDP).
The scale of investment pouring in to construct and host an event of this ambition, as well as goods and services consumed by the millions expected to visit and the businesses that will occupy the Expo site in the legacy phase, will result in an economic dividend that will benefit businesses large and small across a range of sectors for years to come, according to the report.
Since November 2013 - when Dubai won the bid to host the Expo - until its opening in October 2020, the economic impetus will be driven by the construction sector as work continues on building the site and supporting infrastructure such as roads, bridges and the Dubai Metro Route 2020 line.
Crucially, small and medium enterprises, a core component of the UAE economy, will receive Dh4.7 billion in investment during the pre-Expo phase, supporting 12,600 job-years and in line with Expo 2020's goal to foster innovation and support small businesses.
During the peak six months of Expo 2020 Dubai, visitor spending on tickets, merchandise, food and beverage, hotels, flights and local transport will propel economic activity. Expo 2020 expects 25 million visits, with 70 per cent of visitors coming from outside the UAE, providing the hospitality industry with an unmissable opportunity to show the world what the UAE has to offer.
The positive thrust will continue in the decade after Expo closes its doors in April 2021, thanks largely to the transformation of the site into District 2020 - an integrated urban development that will house the impressive Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC).
As part of its legacy, the Expo intends to contribute to new business generation, GDP growth and job creation across the region to support a sustainable, resilient and diversified economy - a key outcome of UAE Vision 2021, a set of national priorities to mark the country's Golden Jubilee.
Big wins for small businesses
Till date, Expo 2020 Dubai has awarded contracts totalling Dh2.4 billion to companies with fewer than 250 employees up to end-March 2019, with more tenders to come as it progresses to the next phase of delivery.
Expo 2020 has committed to awarding 20 per cent of the monetary value of its contracts to SMEs, a sector that forms the backbone of the UAE and global economy.
According to the United Nations, small businesses are key to creating the 600 million jobs needed by 2030 to keep pace with the growth of the world's working age population.
Expo has been at the forefront of pioneering new initiatives to improve the ease of doing business for SMEs. These include clearing payments in 30 days instead of the 90-day industry standard, guaranteeing a 50 per cent payment upfront when procuring goods, or 25 per cent when contracting services, and accepting bank cheques instead of deposits.
Emirates NBD, Expo 2020's Official Banking Partner, announced a new account designed specifically for SMEs registered on Expo's Online Marketplace (OMP), providing them with preferential loan rates, working capital support and low minimum balance requirements.
These efforts have seen SMEs flock to register on the OMP, a free, high-powered eProcurement platform and database where businesses from all over the world can post and award tenders, as well as advertise services. Of the 34,904 businesses signed up to date, 85 per cent are SMEs, a sector that won 56 per cent of all direct and indirect contracts awarded by Expo 2020.
Be a part of the future
The 192 pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai will feature interactive exhibits, live entertainment, memorable meeting spaces, quirky hangouts and plenty more. Explore from France's solar-powered art and parallel universe to The Netherlands' sustainable solutions through out-of-the-box creativity, and the US' journey through American innovations.
Seats that will get the public to view Expo 2020 Dubai's construction site for the first time as it nears completion, have all been sold-out within hours of being made available.
Organisers were inundated by the demand for 'The World's Greatest Show in the Making' tour, which will see fun bus tours depart from across the UAE, three days per week, from July 20 to August 31 next year.
Expo 2020 Dubai is already busy working to add more seats and will announce further plans shortly. Those who would still like to attend can register their interest at www.expo2020dubai.com/hayyakum.
Expo 2020 is a long-term investment in the future of the UAE
Expo 2020 and its legacy will boost economic activity by Dh122.6 billion (2013 - 2031) and support 905,200
full-time equivalent (FTE) job-years (2013 - 2031)
Economy activity will equal 1.5% of UAE GDP during Expo (October 2020 - April 2021)
Dh4.7 billion to support 12,600 job-years (November 2013 - October 2020) spending in SME sector
Source: EY Report: The Economic Impact of Expo 2020 Dubai
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