Dubai’s aim to maintain and increase its status as one of the world’s greatest tourist destinations has been dealt a boost by the news that the Emirate is set to host the World Expo in 2020.
Dubai holidays have become a cornerstone of Dubai’s economic prosperity, and the addition of the World Expo to the city’s tourism offering is likely to have a massive impact.
Helal Saeed Al Merri, Director General of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing for Dubai and chief executive of the Dubai World Trade Centre, welcomed the news and believed Dubai would be an excellent host. He said, “with the strength of Dubai’s infrastructure, geographic location and global connectivity, Dubai Expo 2020 can expect to attract 25 million visitors during the six months between October 2020 and April 2021, 71 per cent of which would originate from outside the host nation for the first time in Expo history.”
While global events like Expos, World Cups and Olympics aren’t a guarantee of economic prosperity, its is widely believed that if a city is already well prepared for such an influx of visitors in terms of its infrastructure, then they can reap the rewards.
Andrew Scott, professor of Economics at London School of Economics stated that “a large majority of Expos and global events, such as the Olympics and the World Cup, end up providing a financial loss for the host nation.” However, he believed that Dubai was well placed to benefit, saying, “given Dubai’s infrastructure and the current state of the property market, hosting Expo should give both a short-term boost to the economy and with relatively small long run adverse effects.”
Whatever the long-term impact, Dubai can certainly prepare for the eyes of the world to be on them come 2020, with an event as prestigious as a World Expo guaranteed to spike international interest in the destination.