DUBAI // In keeping with the country's maritime heritage, a yacht is circumnavigating the globe to spread the unifying message behind the UAE's bid to host the World Expo 2020.
The 70-foot boat, True North, began its voyage in Europe last summer. Its multinational crew aims to take the UAE Expo theme "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future" to people in every port.
The yacht was welcomed this week in Havana, Cuba. Earlier this month it docked at Caucedo, the Dominican Republic's primary port and in the Bahamas.
"Given the UAE's proximity to the sea, sailing plays a proud part in our heritage," said Reem Al Hashimy, managing director of the committee for hosting the Expo and the country's Minister of State.
"We will keep track of her journey across the globe to support our country's bid to bring the world together in 2020."
The ship is named for the Arabic Najmet al-Shamal, the North Star that acts as a crucial guide for ships and nomads in the desert.
A special reception was organised for True North when it docked at Caucedo, said port operator and premier Expo 2020 bid partner DP World.
The company officially announced its support for the bid in October last year. It is one of more than 180 firms from the UAE who have pledged to do so.
"We have a support programme for the Dubai Expo 2020 bid that includes all 30,000 of our people worldwide," said Mohammed Sharaf, the DP World group chief executive.
He said DP World understood the bid because it operates with the same ethos of supporting partnerships. "A key component of Dubai's Expo 2020 bid is innovation and this is a concept that is also very important to DP World," he added.
The UAE is competing to host the bid against four other nations including Ayutthaya, Thailand; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Yekaterinburg, Russia and Izmir in Turkey.
The team from the Bureau International des Exhibitions, currently touring the country, will report back to expo headquarters next week and the winner will be announced in November.