Dubai frontrunner for Expo 2020

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Dubai frontrunner for Expo 2020

Supporters of Dubai’s bid for the 2020 World Expo are predicting smooth sailing ahead, following the city being endorsed as the event host ‘frontrunner’ by New York Times.

By Sarah Young

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Published: Wed 28 Aug 2013, 9:04 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 4:32 AM

With less than 100 days till voting begins, on November 27, an article in New York Times this week reported Dubai, which would be the first Middle Eastern country to host a world fair, has “emerged as the frontrunner”, ahead of other contenders Sao Paulo in Brazil, Yekaterinburg in Russia and Izmir in Turkey.

The August 25 article cites the emirate’s government and financial support as a key reason for its pole position, and says political tensions in Russia, “over what is viewed as an anti-gay law”, and Turkey threaten those countries’ chances, while Sao Paulo is seen as “least likely to succeed” according to “people with knowledge of the bidding”.

Jumbo Electronics CEO Vishesh Bhatia said he was “more than pleased”, given the newspaper was “an opinion-leader whose thoughts can favourably influence the Expo Selection Panel”.

“A validation from a respected journal such as the NYT will surely count for (a lot).

“In the midst of the ongoing so-called Arab Spring, Dubai, and indeed the UAE, remains an oasis of calm. Inspired and wise leadership and governance of Dubai makes it the destination for stable, safe living. A Government that constantly seeks improvement in the standard of living and security of its citizens and residents, a Government that benchmarks itself against the world’s best, a Government that encourages innovation and fresh thinking, makes for Dubai to be quite unparallelled in this region if not the world.”

He said it was “no wonder” the NYT had declared Dubai the right choice.

Without question the expo would stimulate the economy, he added, saying real estate and construction would receive added boosts, while more visitors and retail activity would improve “investor sentiment”.

“In short, there could not be better news for Dubai.”

Al Maya Group director Kamal Vachani said the group was “very pleased to see this endorsement”.

The company, which owns 31 stores across the UAE, felt “very confident” about Dubai’s chances coming voting in November, as the city outperformed the other contenders in all of the requirements, he said.

“Dubai is a very vibrant city in terms of geographical location, infrastructure and trade.”

The expo would draw even more tourists and residents to the city, boosting investments in all sectors including retail, distribution, and commercial or personal property, he added.

Meanwhile, Boeing Middle East president Jeff Johnson said Dubai’s ambition to host the event was “befitting of a city of its calibre”.

“It is apparent a significant effort has been put into making the case for Dubai’s bid and winning it would be a tremendous achievement; it would indeed be a case of a world-class event being held in a world-class city.”

Flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said as Dubai’s bid “gathers pace”, the team was excited about the opportunity for the UAE.

“Not only will it be a tremendous achievement for the nation but it will highlight Dubai’s position as a global hub. Flydubai will continue to support Dubai’s economic development creating free flows of trade and tourism in previously underserved markets.”

Dubai’s Expo 2020 bid is centered around the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

The event, which would take place on the eve of the UAE’s 50th anniversary, is expected to create more than 277,000 jobs, and for each of these, an additional 50 jobs are expected to be sustained across the wider region — a positive boost for the Mena region which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.

A World Expo has never been held in the Middle East, Africa or South Asia. Given 70 per cent of the expected 25 million visitors would come from outside the country, the expo would provide both developed and developing nations with a new level of global exposure and the opportunity for partnerships.

Representatives from 167 member nations of the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) will cast their votes to decide which city will host the event on November 27.

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