The region as a whole has taken note that EXPO 2020 will be in Dubai. It is the responsibility of every member state of the region to rise to the occasion to bring maximum benefit to neighbouring countries. Seychelles and the Vanilla Islands are well placed in close proximity and can push for pre or post EXPO visits if they open dialogue and work with Dubai EXPO Organisers.
It is now known that the main site of EXPO Dubai 2020 will be a 438-hectare area (1083 acres) located between Dubai and Abu Dhabi cities, near Dubai emirate’s western border with Abu Dhabi emirate. The master plan, designed by the American firm HOK, is organized around a central plaza, entitled Al Wasl (meaning “the connection” in Arabic language), enclosed by three large pavilions which will be built by Al-Futtaim Carillion, each one dedicated to a sub-theme. Dubai has also been emphasizing on investments in various sectors such as economic growth, real estate, environmental avenues and public affairs. In recent times, Dubai has made major investments in Real Estate as well as introduced a world’s largest Solar Power Project which is all set to start by EXPO 2020. Apart from pumping money, the nation is also keen on giving equal prominence to public relationships. The initiative – Dubai Happiness Agenda, has 16 programmes under four themes that sums up 82 projects to be set in the city with an aim to make the city the happiest by 2020. The Dubai EXPO 2020 also would see a rise in the GDP as predicted by the International Monetary Fund.
There are reports which have analysed the recent economic downturn and predict that World EXPO 2020 Dubai will lead to a property bubble, which might have far reaching consequences.
UAE selected the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, sub-themes being Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity.
“In today’s highly interconnected world, a renewed vision of progress and development based on shared purpose and commitment is key. While a married human mind, an individual country, or a specific community is both unique and remarkable, it is by working collaboratively that we truly advance.” Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said in support of the bid.
The World EXPO in Dubai in 2020 will be the first to be held in the MENA & SA (Middle East and North Africa & South Asia) region. On 27 November 2013, when Dubai won the right to host the expo 2020, fireworks erupted at the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa. A national holiday was declared the following day for all educational institutions across the country. The Dubai Ruler promised Dubai would “astonish the world,” in 2020. The staging of the world fair and the preparations leading up to it are expected to result in 277,000 new jobs in the UAE, an injection of nearly $40 billion into the economy, and an increase in visitors of at least 25 million and up to 100 million. Director General of Dubai Municipality, Hussain Nasser Lootah, said that they have the largest laboratory in the region, and can easily research new materials and technologies required for construction. The world’s tallest commercial tower to be built in Dubai, in Jumeirah Lake Towers, was given the name “Burj 2020” in honour of the World EXPO 2020.
Regional Tourism Bodies must today be thinking on ways to maximise the influx of visitors to the region for this coming EXPO. Air connectivity from Dubai to the region as a whole cannot be any better and should be seen as the perfect opportunity for promotion for the discovery of the region.