x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Fierce competition the major challenge to Dubai’s World Expo 2020 bid

Hasan Arat, the chairman of Istanbul’s 2020 Olympics bid and the vice president of the Turkish Olympic Committee, talks exclusively to The National about his experiences and Dubai’s bid for the 2020 World Expo.

Next month, nations hoping to stage the world’s biggest events will converge on Dubai for the Host Cities 2013 conference to hear how it is done. One of the attendees will be Hasan Arat, the chairman of Istanbul’s 2020 Olympics bid and the vice president of the Turkish Olympic Committee. Here, he talks exclusively to The National about his experiences and Dubai’s bid for the 2020 World Expo.

What is the biggest challenge facing a country such as ours when bidding for a major event?

The biggest challenge is the amount and standard of competition. Twenty years ago there were only a small number of cities and nations in the world capable of hosting the major sports events. These nations are extremely well established in the events circuit: Turkey’s reputation as a leading host of major events is rapidly growing and we have increased our events experience dramatically over recent years, but in comparison to countries like Japan, we remain relatively inexperienced.

To attract major events to the region, what should we do that we don’t do already?

It is not my place to tell other nations what they need to do. But for any emerging nation you have to overcome the trust deficit. You have to show rights holders that your nation is capable of delivery and ready to be an outstanding partner. It is also incredibly important to have full buy-in and engagement from stakeholders.

What challenges did Istanbul face in its 2020 Olympics bid?

Our biggest challenge was in a sense our biggest opportunity. Istanbul 2020 had a truly inspiring story. We offered the Olympic movement the chance to bridge to a brand new culture, to a country and a region that has never hosted the Games before. But this . . . had to be combined with proof that we could deliver.

tarnold@thenational.ae