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25 June 2024

World Expo 2020: Heralding Dubai’s next chapter of super-growth

By Shuchita Kapur

One of the major events of last year was Dubai’s successful bid for the World Expo 2020 – a victory that will have a tremendously positive impact on the future of the emirate and further consolidate Dubai’s reputation among the leading business centres of the world.

This phenomenal victory has been achieved under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and the Ruler of Dubai, who successfully steered the city to emerge as the top contender.

Dubai has worked hard to be where it is today and under the wise guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, the city has completely transformed itself into a modern place, which was clearly the favourite of the majority of country representatives who voted for Dubai to emerge as the clear winner of the World Expo 2020 bid at the 154th BIE General Assembly in Paris.

The UAE received 116 votes out of a total of 165 in the third and final round of voting, showcasing its mettle and the resounding faith that the world has in its ability to hold a global event of such huge stature. The hard work of those responsible behind the successful bid finally paid off. The city was able to portray itself as the best contender to host the event and seemed much better prepared to host the big event as opposed to the others in the running.

IMAGES: UAE residents celebrate World Expo 2020 win

Whether it was the world class infrastructure, fantastic public transport, connectivity, mega construction projects that are completed, underway or waiting to take shape, world-class hotels and the huge support that one can garner – Dubai was at the forefront on all counts.

And, after winning the bid to host the mega event, HH Sheikh Mohammed announced that the city will dazzle the world with the show when it happens in 2020.

What does the victory mean for the country, Dubai and for each individual who resides in the city? One word that can sum it up for all is: Growth. The Expo is expected to have a trickle-down effect on nearly all sectors, leading to exponential growth in the coming years.

Construction activity

Construction sector will benefit immensely from the win as many projects that have been announced and are taking shape will have to be completed before the city gets ready to host the event.

The Expo venue itself needs to be ready. This will lead to a huge spike in demand for professionals and employees across all levels in construction.

The site itself will be something very different from the past ones. For the first time, the site for Dubai Expo 2020 will introduce a new type of exhibition and presentation spaces: the Innovation Pavilion and the Innovation Labs. These will showcase the projects and the solutions inspired and supported by Expo Live through its global and unprecedented seven years effort to encourage innovation.

These pavilions will be dynamic and thriving centres of activity during the Expo and will represent an important pole of attraction for both the communities of innovators as well as the general public.

And let’s not forget the other mega projects that are shaping up – whether it’s the Business Bay Canal or the various developments taking place on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed road, Dubai will be a much transformed city come 2020.

Tourism and hospitality

Next in line to benefit will be tourism and hospitality as Dubai prepares to play host to the millions of visitors who are expected to descend on the city six years from now. The event will attract more than 25 million visitors to Dubai between October 2020 and April 2021, said Helal Almarri, Director-General, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

“To meet the needs of this tourist boom – 70 per cent of which will come from outside of the UAE – DTCM expects to have to double Dubai’s hotel inventory to around 164,000 hotel and hotel apartment rooms within the next seven years,” he was quoted as saying.


The growth spurt will be felt in a big way in the aviation sector and airlines that will ferry these passengers can expect a big shot in the arm. Preparations are already well under way as aviation authorities are gearing up for expanding and upgrading existing air infrastructure to accommodate the influx of millions of additional international visitors who will come with hosting World Expo 2020.

Over 17.5 million people are expected to come to visit Expo 2020 in Dubai, or up to 300,000 every day. Add to that the number of exhibitors from more than 180 nations that will be showcasing their products and services at the venue.

Engineering, transportation and logistics

As more people come to the city whether for work or travel, there will be increased demand in the areas of engineering, transportation and logistics.

Secondary sectors

Secondary and support sectors like trade, tourism, entertainment and retail will also benefit  from the organisation of such a large-scale event in the UAE. As demand grows, financial services will also benefit to fund the development that will take place.

Job market

With so much happening around, the job market will grow immensely. There will be demand for professionals and workers at all levels.  More than 275,000 jobs are expected to be created and will lead to pay hikes and more opportunities for the individual.