Dubai winning the bid for hosting the Expo 2020 triggered a wave of optimism and opportunity, and the effect was seen in major industries, including real estate. Being the first ever exhibition of its size in the Middle East, the numbers are huge. An expected 25 million visitors, including world leaders and decision makers from more than 200 countries, visiting Dubai during the course of the exhibition is a huge opportunity for the city to further prop up its international image, attract foreign investments and strengthen the core economy.
The spending on the overall infrastructure required to host the event runs into millions of dollars. All this investment is expected to bring short and long-term benefits to the diversified economy before, during and in the years to come after the event.
The Expo 2020 site will be the biggest ever built and span across 438 hectares. It will not just be an exhibition venue, but also a stimulation of a knowledge-based economy which will continue to attract visitors, students and businesses. After the event is over, the Expo site will be transformed into an ecosystem to connect businesses and to foster innovation and meaningful partnerships for a diversified economy.
The economic benefits of the past Expos have been witnessed by many host countries. The Expo Milano 2015, considered to be the largest food event in modern history, attracted 22 million visitors who returned to their countries to consider new food policies and systems. The theme of the Expo was ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ and it ran for six months, with 145 participating countries and 22 million visitors from all over the world. Undoubtedly, the event was highly successful and established Milan as a global capital of food policy. During the Expo period alone, food products worth billions were sold and the host city was thrown into the global spotlight.
Post the Expo Milan 2015, Italy’s agro business was pushed to a record high. Export and foreign sales rose significantly and the city witnessed a massive growth in visitor numbers proving that Italy’s business centre was able to reap the beneficial effects of the event. And there was no post Expo decline; in fact, the city has been able to capitalise on the international visibility created by the event by investing in “services, cultural offerings and attractions.
Dubai’s vision post Expo 2020
For host countries, expos act as a catalyst for accelerating infrastructural transformations and have a powerful impact on the branding of the city, and of the country at an international level. The Dubai Expo 2020 is an event that will bring remarkable changes to infrastructure, and is a well thought out plan for long-term economic growth and development. The infrastructure development for Expo 2020 is not just confined to the event but also part of the city’s continued development and to cater to the increasing growth of the tourism, aviation and other sectors.
The goal of the expo is not just to become a remarkable event but to also create a legacy of development that will empower all major sectors, thus cementing Dubai’s status as a hub for investment, trade, tourism and transport.
The investment in infrastructure for the Expo and beyond is a clear picture for the long-term growth strategy. With the world’s largest airport that will accommodate up to 220 million passengers per year, Dubai will solidify its position as a global aviation hub. A number of large-scale development projects scheduled to be ready after the Expo will ensure continuity of economic growth and foreign investment and the action will continue even after the mega event.