Expo 2020 Dubai will remain ‘in legacy’ to boost local economy

The largest event to be held in the Arab World, Expo 2020 Dubai will be a long-term investment in the future of the country, impacting its economy by AED 122.6 billion (£26.5bn).

“The Expo is a unique opportunity – we are building the Dubai Exhibition Centre – which is a brand new venue that will remain in legacy after the Expo along with 80 per cent of all the infrastructure built for the Expo,” Steen Jakobsen, Dubai’s business events director told M&IT.

A new district in Dubai is being built in preparation for the Expo, which is located half way between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“I was up there last week and it is unbelievable what is happening. In typical Dubai fashion, the plan is to have everything ready a year in advance, so by October 2019, everything will be ready, with a full year to test and make sure everything is ready for the opening. It is a significant investment and a very high priority,” Jakobsen added.

According to an independent report published by global consultancy EY, The economic impact of Expo 2020 Dubai, the construction costs of Expo 2020 are in the region of AED 27bn (£5.8bn). The ascendency of Dubai was further boosted by a Cvent report, with the UAE destination leading the Middle East and Africa region in terms of meeting facilities. Out of the top 25 meeting hotels in the Middle East and Africa, 16 were in Dubai, with JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai retaining its number one spot as the top meeting hotel in the region.

Dubai has a total of 118,449 hotel rooms and hotel apartments over 722 properties, according to figures from the first four months of 2019. This represents a five per cent increase in hotels and a seven per cent rise in hotel rooms since 2018. By 2020, forecasts project that Dubai will have a total of 148,000 hotel rooms and hotel apartments.

“I think there are several reasons why Dubai has come out on top of this recent ranking. There is the infrastructure that we have in place, the accessibility – it’s easy to come to Dubai from all parts of the world,” Jakobsen said.

“There is a perception that Dubai is expensive, which is really not the case. The hotel rates are very affordable compared to other destinations – the likes of London and Paris. The average room rate for Dubai is 425 dirhams per night, which is about £100. This is a fast-paced business city. Half of the world’s fortune 500 companies have their Middle East base here. It is such an international, diverse environment.”