Dubai's selection as host city for the 2020 World Expo event was announced in Paris this afternoon, sparking wild celebrations across the UAE.
DP World, one of the six 'premier partners' of the Dubai bid, hosted a lavish party on one of the man-made islands of the unfinished 'World' project out in the Gulf to welcome the news.
“For Dubai to host this major international event for the first time ever in the region is great news,” commented DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem. “It is a win-win situation and presents a tremendous opportunity for Dubai, the UAE and the region to showcase its already established and efficient infrastructure and its unique geographic position as a hub for trade, business and tourism.”
“Our founding fathers created a land of opportunities and trade that thrives on open seas, open skies and open doors delivered over successive generations,” commented vice-chairman Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah. “Expo 2020 will take us even further, faster as we continue to focus on a sustainable future for our children.”
Construction of all the lavish national pavilions required, as well as supply of additional infrastructure and ancillary services, is expected to provide an important boost to UAE import trade in the run-up to 2020. "Dubai sales of Shariah-compliant debt are set to surge should the emirate win Expo 2020 as the sheikhdom finances the building of roads, railways and an airport expansion for the event," Bloomberg predicted.
In addition, a predicted 70% of the estimated 25m visitors to the event will come from overseas, further enhancing the UAE's status as a major international business and tourism hub.
Also, Shanghai Expo 2010 provided a major boost for a rundown industrial area of that city, turning it into what is now a thriving arts district.
Dubai Expo 2020 will be the first to be held in the MENASA (Middle East, North Africa and South Asia) region, providing "a platform for connectivity to help pioneer new partnerships for growth and sustainability for the future," according to the Dubai bid document.
The theme for the event will be "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future" with three further sub-themes identified as key drivers of global development: Sustainability – lasting sources of energy and water, Mobility - smart systems of logistics and transportation; and Opportunity - new paths to economic development.
One novel feature of Dubai's bid was the introduction of a concept called "Expo Live." This will comprise an Innovation Pavilion and Innovation Labs at the exhibition, providing a showcase for innovative R&D projects in search of seed funding – somewhat reminiscent of the new Innovation & Venture hall at this year's Nor-Shipping event.
Other finalist cities for Expo 2020 were Sao Paolo in Brazil, Izmir in Turkey and Yekaterinburg in Russia.
Dubai won the final round of voting with 116 votes to Russia's 47.