Key facts you should know about World Expo 2020

Dubai will be hosting the World Expo 2020, which is regarded as the third largest global event after the Olympics and the World Cup Soccer, from October 20, 2020 until April 10, 2021. As a general rule, this six-month event is held every five years. While the last World Expo was held in Shanghai, China in 2010, the next one is scheduled for 2015 and will be held in Milano (Milan) in Italy.

While the Shanghai Expo focused on sustainable city development under the theme ‘Better City, Better Life’, the one in Milano will be titled ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’. Similarly, the theme of the Dubai Expo scheduled for 2020 would be ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. With this theme, the Expo will foster a hands-on approach to figure out the solutions to three very concrete sub-themes: mobility, sustainability and opportunity.

In the history of World Expo, so far this mega event has never been organized in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. As such, Expo 2020 in Dubai will be the first-of-its-kind international exposition in this region and it is expected to attract 25 million visitors from over 200 countries around the world and thereby help Dubai and the UAE reinforce their position as a global business hub.

Expo 2020, which marks the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Emirate, will be organized on a 438-hectare site located adjacent to the new Al Maktoum International Airport on the southwestern edge of Dubai, which is equidistant from Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The site will be divided into three areas dedicated to each sub-theme and these thematic zones would lead to Al Wasl, the main plaza. Different countries would be allowed to set up their pavilions in the area that best corresponds to their development strategy.

After the Expo gets over, the site based on modular design will be dismantled and rebuilt to create appropriate infrastructures – such as the Dubai Trade Center Jebel Ali, an Expo museum, a university and apartment buildings – in a bid to further develop the entire region.

Now coming to the most important question with regard to how Expo 2020 is going to affect the lives of Dubai residents, this high-profile exposition will have a very positive impact on all sectors of Dubai’s economy, which in turn will immensely benefit the local residents. First and foremost, it will bring in unprecedented investments into various sectors of the local economy, thereby generating a large number of business and employment opportunities.

Business opportunities will get created as Dubai transforms into a top global centre for tourism, trade and finance, giving a major boost to hotels, restaurants, car rental agencies and other related economic activities. Job opportunities will surge as large construction projects get underway, as well as tourism and hospitality sectors witness an exceptional boom. For instance, a study done by consultancy Oxford Economics estimates that the World Expo 2020 will lead to creation of about 277,000 new jobs as well as significant rise in salary levels in some industrial sectors.

Finally, coming to the negative effect this global exhibition is likely to have, majority of the people residing in the emirate fear the unprecedented influx of tourists, investors and job aspirants may create an upward pressure on the prices of essential goods and commodities across the board, which in turn will lead to a rise in cost of living. Secondly, if there is a major surge in the number of people coming to work in the UAE, property rentals will shoot up considerably, which may further compound the inflationary trends.