Expo 2020 Dubai has 'gotten off to excellent start', says World Bank

Emirate's retail, hospitality, tourism, aviation and MICE sectors have seen exponential growth since early this year

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Photo: File
Photo: File

Waheed Abbas

Published: Sun 5 Dec 2021, 3:44 PM

Dubai has returned to pre-pandemic growth, thanks to excellent start of Expo 2020 Dubai and aggressive policies adopted by the government to rein in the pandemic, World Bank said.

“Most recent quarterly data shows that Bahrain and Dubai have returned to pre-pandemic growth in Q2 2021. These coupled with a rising Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) indicate a strong rebound in 2021— with headline PMI reporting strong expansionary values since the second half of 2021,” it said in its latest report on the regional economies.

Dubai’s non-oil economy recorded the sharpest improvement in two years in October this year, boosted by a strong rebound in new orders and revival in tourism due to Expo 2020, according to the IHS Markit Dubai Purchasing Managers’ Index for the month of October.

Despite the outbreak of the Covid-19 and a year’s delay, World Bank said Expo 2020 Dubai has “gotten off to an excellent start and hotel occupancy is up from 54 per cent in 2020 to 62 per cent in Q3 2021.”

Expo 2020 Dubai had recorded nearly 4.8 per cent visits since its opening on October 1, 2021, till November 28. The number has also grown exponentially during the four-day long weekend on the occasion of the National Day and the Commemoration Day when the residents and visitors were allowed free entry.


Following a 6.2 per cent contraction in the economy last year due to the pandemic, Dubai economy is forecast to strongly bounce back this year with a growth rate of four per cent in 2021.

As a result of the reopening of the economy, Dubai’s retail, hospitality, tourism, aviation and MICE sectors have seen exponential growth since early this year. The growth has accelerated before the beginning of the Expo 2020 Dubai as the large influx of foreign visitors resulted in strong demand for hotel rooms, residential units, driving sales higher for the retail sector.

World Bank has projected that the UAE’s real GDP will grow at 2.7 per cent, slightly higher than the GCC average of 2.6 per cent.


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