Dubai fifth most accessible world city bids to host World Expo 2020
25 Feb 2013, 1246 hrs IST
Business World News: With its strong economy characterised by steady growth rates, the UAE is one of the world’s leading global trading nations and Dubai is one of the most connected cities in the world. Home to over 200 different nationalities, the emirate has always been a favoured meeting point for global leaders, institutions and businesses.
Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry Director-General Hamad Buamim explains to Khaleej Times why the emirate is the ideal destination and how the private sector is supporting the bid, with Dubai bidding to host World Expo 2020.
With a GDP exceeding $360 billion in 2011, the UAE is the second largest Arab economy. The country accounts for 1.3 per cent of global trade, a higher percentage than much larger, more populous countries such as Egypt, Malaysia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Turkey.
In fact, the World Bank’s Doing Business Report in 2012 rated Dubai as the fifth most accessible city in the world for enabling trade. The UAE was also ranked first in the region and fourth in the world in the Ease of Doing Business Index by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Most importantly, it is also one of the safest countries in the world. Today, the UAE has one of the world’s most open economies and one that is stable, diverse, sustainable and growing. It is a gateway to emerging markets across Asia, the Middle East, and Arica and is a significant consumer market in its own right. Support from all around
“This ticks all the boxes for hosting a World Expo and we think Dubai is ready to bring the world together for this important event,” Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry Director-General Hamad Buamim said.
“Domestic and regional support for Dubai Expo 2020 is overwhelming. Local opposition to the bid does not exist. Business leaders view hosting the Expo 2020 as a great opportunity. In fact, nine in ten surveyed said the image of the UAE and commercial activity and tourism in the region would be positively impacted by hosting Expo 2020 here,” he added.
On its part, Dubai Chamber has been working with its 27 sector-specific business groups and 43 country-specific business councils to support the bid. “Last year, we organised a number of events to highlight the bid and foster private sector participation. These include a Diplomatic Circle Dinner with Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and Managing Director of Expo 2020 Dubai, which was attended by 62 UAE-based foreign diplomats in support of Dubai Expo 2020; the Business Gala International in association with the Dubai Expo 2020 Bid Committee, attended by over 1,000 local and global business leaders and entrepreneurs; and Talk Expo 2020, a networking meeting for the business community to support Dubai’s bid,” he explained. Dubai rated high
Across the board, companies have taken the initiative to support Dubai Expo 2020 using their own resources and financing. The UAE is home to 50 per cent of Fortune 500 companies, including approximately 70 per cent of the top 100 firms. It is one of the most dynamic economies in the world – where the world comes to do business.
An independent study conducted for Dubai Expo 2020 by Zogby Research Services last year found an impressive 92 per cent of business leaders rated it favourably and 85 per cent said it was relevant. The study, which questioned 154 top level executives in Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and the UAE also found that nine in 10 said the image of the UAE and commercial activity and tourism in the region would be positively impacted by hosting the Expo 2020 here. At the same time, 85 per cent of UAE respondents said Dubai is a good venue to host the World Expo in 2020 and 89 per cent supported the UAE’s bid. Business leaders also gave a favourable rating to the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ with 80 per cent saying they are likely to attend and 82 per cent saying they would encourage their employees to attend.
Expo site to boost private sector
At the same time, the Expo site will be a major boost for the private sector, creating a new centre for the city. The site, which is integral to the city’s wider urban development strategy, will be adjacent to the new Al Maktoum Airport in a previously undeveloped area. This area, known as Dubai Trade Centre - Jebel Ali, will be a concrete interpretation of “aerotropolis” a city integrating with its airport to develop new services and, as it is previously undeveloped, will not require any displacement of people, businesses or infrastructure. The emirate is ready to invest as much as $4 billion to build the infrastructure for the prestigious event, it was announced in February 2012, when the UAE had launched the country’s campaign to host World Expo 2020 in Dubai.
Dubai’s strengths are numerous and the city is well prepared to host such a prestigious global event. All sections of society are mobilised to help Dubai achieve its aim. Hard work, perseverance and dedication are part of the emirate’s character. These traits, along with partnership and collaboration, the founding principles of the UAE, will help us turn our ambitions into reality, said Buamim.
Private sector views
Dubai already has most of the facilities that will help to host the great exhibition in the emirate such as the world’s top airport, seaports, luxury hotels and other required infrastructure, according to private sector leaders. Dr Bharat Butaney, President of the Indian Business & Professional Council (IBPC), Dubai
“Dubai will be a great venue for Expo 2020. The UAE is all geared up to host the World’s Expo 2020 in Dubai under the theme Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. Dubai is a ‘rainbow city’ with 200 different nationalities living in harmony. Dubai is also a ‘human magnate’ with immense capacity to attract people. Dubai has a strategic location, at the cross-roads between east and west. Dubai has the best infrastructure — including seaports, airports, roads, transport and hotels. In 2012, over 10 million tourists visited Dubai. All this has been done with private and public partnership. The IBPC, Dubai is pleased to support the efforts of the Dubai Chamber in all possible ways.” Claude Valle, President of the French Business Council (FBC), Dubai & Northern Emirates
“The FBC warmly welcomes and enthusiastically supports Dubai’s World Expo 2020 campaign. For more than 25 years, the FBC has enjoyed a close and mutually beneficial working relationship with the Dubai Chamber.
Based on our long experience and relationship with the city and emirate, we strongly believe that Dubai has all the necessary attributes to be the perfect host city for World Expo 2020 and wish the campaign every success.” Richard Harris, President, South African Business Council
“The constant growth of Dubai via inspired leadership and innovative projects has put this once barren desert city on the global map.
Taking what has already been achieved along with the projects that are still in the planning phase, we as the South African Business Council and the South African business community as a whole, working with Dubai Chamber, are extremely excited at the prospect of Dubai been awarded Expo 2020.” Haji Obaidullah Sader Khail, Chairman of the Afghan Business Council-Dubai
“I believe that Dubai has all the credentials to win the hosting of Expo 2020.
There are many positive effects that can be expected after the announcement of the winning of Dubai to host this international exhibition as the Dubai economy is expected to grow more as many of the countries with their diverse cultures will be participating in the expo, representing themselves in many ways as performers, traders, suppliers and many more according to the theme and beyond that.
I believe that UAE has a big chance to host the Expo because it has good business relations with all over the world and every country knows well about UAE’s security, peace and rules and regulations.”
Chairman of the Swiss Business Council
“I see the UAE’s efforts to win World Expo 2020 as being extremely positive and well-coordinated.
I absolutely believe Dubai has all the credentials to be the perfect host for Expo 2020. Dubai’s excellent infrastructure will definitely be a great and positive factor to help Dubai win the bid.”
email@example.com Top Voices ‘Key component ?is innovation’
What is DP World doing to support the bid?
We have a support programme for the Dubai Expo 2020 bid that includes all 30,000 of our people worldwide, but is particularly strong in our home base of Dubai where we have enthusiastically embraced the Expo ethos. As part of that, we have rolled out sponsorships featuring Expo 2020 that will reach millions of people, including a major presence at the DP World Tour Championship golf tournament, which was watched by more than 100 million viewers from all around the world. Is there an element of the bid that resonates particularly strongly with DP World?
A key component of Dubai’s Expo 2020 bid is innovation, and this is a concept that is also very important to DP World. We are committed to thought leadership and innovation in our own industry — it is what keeps us all energised to find new solutions for customers. We are also promoting and supporting innovation in the community to make this a fundamental part of what Dubai and the UAE is all about. By encouraging a new generation of innovators, we support the UAE in its goal of becoming a knowledge economy. How is DP World aligned with the bid’s theme?
Ours is a business that invests for the long term and we understand from experience how connecting across borders at an individual, community and country level creates a successful future, bringing down barriers between people and generating benefits for all. And, like Expo 2020, we are also strong believers in the importance of partnership.
It is by working closely with our customers, our business partners and our people that we have grown to become the third largest port operator in the world. ‘Dubai’s trump card is accessibility’ Why would Dubai make a good host city for World Expo?
Dubai has the infrastructure, ability, expertise and desire to make the Expo work. I don’t know many cities that could effectively deal with an event like this, but Dubai will be able to and do so comfortably. The emirate’s trump card is access. An Expo needs to be in a city that is connected, and is geographically well positioned, Dubai is both. How does Emirates Airline help the UAE’s value proposition?
We have 198 aircraft servicing 129 destinations, playing a crucial role in the emergence of the UAE as an international hub for trade, tourism and commerce. By 2020, we’ll have a fleet of around 250 wide-bodied aircraft, and will have added another 30 or more destinations. In terms of our ability to connect the world, there will be no other international operator with that reach, able to connect with Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe.
There are huge population bases all around us, and we are already shifting tens of millions of passengers to and across our hub, and we’ll continue to grow the business and to open points in Europe and Asia as well as the Americas. Indeed, we’ll be serving most of the world’s cities in time for Expo 2020, opening the opportunity to make the Dubai Expo 2020 the most international yet, bringing global exposure for the participants as well as for the Bureau of International Expositions.
‘UAE has capabilities ?to host such events’
What is the UAE’s, especially Dubai’s, advantage in hosting the event?
The UAE has all the capabilities that will help it to host World Expo 2020.
We host international organisations like IRENA. We are also the first country outside the United States and Europe to host meetings of the World Bank and the IMF.
Expo 2020 will confirm the international prestige of our country whether we are citizens or expats who live and work here to achieve their dreams.
‘Dubai has world-class infrastructure’
Why should Dubai be chosen to host Expo 2020?
If one of the key attributes of a successful Expo is measured in the diversity and volume of international visitors, then the UAE already has the world-class infrastructure to support that, and to make it successful. It would be a first for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, and would mean an opportunity for some of the world’s fastest-growing emerging markets to participate.
What role will Dubai World Central play in Dubai Expo 2020 plans?
Dubai World Central will provide additional capacity to accommodate the anticipated boost in traffic that would result from a successful bid.
Once fully developed, it will be an airport with five runways and the ability to handle 160 million passengers per annum and 12 million tonnes of freight. This capacity will be needed to support the UAE’s rapidly growing role as the region’s trade and logistics hub. The UAE is the world’s third largest re-export market, exerting a strong influence on global trade flows and acting as a gateway to an international business community.
‘Dedicated to ?connecting people’
What does the bids theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ mean to Etisalat?
This theme could not be more appropriate for Etisalat. We are dedicated to connecting people, and we are creating the technology of the future to do so. We believe in the ability of the World Expo to gather minds to address the major global challenges we face today, and those we will face tomorrow. The UAE is a trade, tourism and telecommunications hub, and we connect so many people in so many ways every day, not just in terms of straightforward communication, but also culturally and societally. I don’t know anywhere else that has more than 200 nationalities living happily side by side, UAE nationals and expatriates.
The subthemes sit well with us too. Sustainability is at the core of our business — we have to grow in the right way and also to take care of this country, which has given us so much. We are always finding ways of cutting our carbon footprint and reducing our impact on the environment, planning not just for our futures but for the futures of our children too.
Why should the UAE win the right to host a World Expo?
Dubai and the UAE is a gateway to the wider Middle East. We are a nation that welcomes the world, and the Expo is a unique opportunity for the UAE to join with other countries to help shape our shared future. All of our capabilities and resources will be put behind the Expo, and we have a guaranteed dedication to excellence. This has become a part of our culture. Who wouldn’t want to come here?
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