x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Energy conservation, collaboration and mobility at heart of Dubai’s Expo bid

Experts say the nation’s bid demonstrates universal appeal while offering practical solutions while staging a world fair will benefit Dubai and the UAE far beyond 2020.

During the international delegates’ visit to Burj Khalifa, the world’s highest building, that serves as an example of international cooperation sitting at the heart of the vibrant and multicultural Downtown community in Dubai. Courtesy Dubai Government Media Office
During the international delegates’ visit to Burj Khalifa, the world’s highest building, that serves as an example of international cooperation sitting at the heart of the vibrant and multicultural Downtown community in Dubai. Courtesy Dubai Government Media Office

DUBAI // Energy conservation, collaboration, mobility and providing drinking water for developing countries forms the heart of Dubai’s Expo 2020 bid, which experts have hailed as modern and dynamic.

The Theme Symposium this week for the 250 delegates of the Bureau International des Expositions (Bie) is the last in the series. The emirate is the final candidate to present its theme, “Connecting Minds, Building the Future”, after Russia’s Yekaterinburg, Brazil’s Sao Paulo and Turkey’s Izmir.

Experts said the city’s bid demonstrates universal appeal while offering practical solutions, and that staging a world fair will benefit Dubai and the UAE far beyond 2020.

“To my mind the Expo will be a great bonus along with Dubai’s momentum of development; this is because its infrastructure is geared not just for 2020 or for what happens in 2021 but far beyond,” said John Podaras, partner in consultancy firm Hotel Development Resources.

“Dubai and the UAE have a vision; the country immerses itself in a number of projects but it still remains an integrated and cohesive vision.

“An Expo always bring in focused demand so there will be demand for hotels, tourism, infrastructure. This is special because an Expo is over six months. The demand will extend to a year and beyond so it is really very significant.”

The use of public transport, including connectivity to the Metro that will ferry more than 75,000 people daily to the site and the planned use of some 750 ExpoRider zero-emission buses, were among the modern transit options showcased to Bie delegates this week.

The Roads and Transport Authority has said it will fast track a planned Dh5 billion Metro expansion if Dubai wins the final vote on November 27. The plan includes building an extension to the Red Line to take passengers from Jebel Ali to Al Maktoum International Airport near the proposed Expo site at Dubai World Central.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, recently announced plans to turn Dubai into a “smart city” with high-speed wireless internet available across the emirate.

Physical connectivity too is vital and Dubai’s second airport, Al Maktoum International, will open for passenger flights on Sunday with a capacity for up to 7 million passengers a year.

It first opened for cargo operations in June 2010.

The existing Dubai International Airport is already the world’s second busiest airport in terms of international passenger traffic and the third busiest for cargo.

The Expo site is also located near Jebel Ali Port, the largest container port between Rotterdam and Singapore.

The visiting Bie delegates also received information about the vital initiative Expo Live that aims to directly transform the lives of communities around the globe. An affordable high-quality solar lantern is part of the D Light project and Pure Home Water involves clay pots reinforced with a filtering technology for people in the developing world.

When choosing a host city, the 167 member countries consider feasibility and viability while scrutinising the theme, masterplan, site, projects, infrastructure, accommodation and transportation. Members also examine if the Expo is a national project fully supported by the government and citizens.

Abdulla Al Gurg, group general manager of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, said the UAE’s bid ticks all the boxes.

“The promise of efficiency and competence to deliver an event that is world class offers Dubai the unique edge amongst competitors,” he said.

“Dubai has a ‘can excel’ attitude towards any campaign it commits to. With due respect to the other bidding cities, hosting a global expo also requires some existing world-class infrastructure and facilities, and it is on this score that Dubai is miles ahead of the competition, be it its airport, roads, hotels and numerous shopping destinations plus recreational facilities.”

The city’s growth as a tourist and business hub where millions of people from different countries and cultures coexist also puts it ahead, Mr Al Gurg said.

“The cosmopolitan nature of the emirate provides a great hospitality environment for visitors from across the world,” he said. “Dubai represents the essence of globalisation at work.”

rtalwar@thenational.ae