x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Expo 2020 bid: UAE's chance to tell its story to the world

Expo excitement is catching on among Emiratis and expatriates alike this week as the inspection team continues its tour of the country for Dubai's 2020 bid.

DUBAI // Expo excitement is catching on among Emiratis and expatriates alike this week as the inspection team continues its tour of the country.

And according to Khalid Ali Al Omera, an Emirati communications engineer, the bid is a chance to put his country in the spotlight.

"Of course it means a lot to the people of the UAE," Mr Al Omera said.

"It will give us the chance to tell our story - of a small country built by our great rulers, about our Sheikh Zayed, about our people.

"It's a chance to tell people about our heritage. How we moved from the desert and what we plan for the future, for the new generation."

One Dubai businessman from India said that he wore his Expo 2020 badge on his suit jacket every day because it prompted people to ask questions.

"I was given the clip at a charity event a few months ago and since then I always wear it on my jacket. I feel so proud," said Shyam Bhatia, founder and chairman of Alam Steel, one of the oldest and largest steel companies in the Arabian Gulf.

"Especially when I travel abroad and people ask me about the clip, then I proudly tell them that we're bidding for the Expo 2020.

"I'm so excited about it because the Expo will bring everything to Dubai. This is the right destination for it because of the UAE's location and infrastructure. It will help tourism and construction and its impact will be long term."

If Dubai wins the bid, it would be the first world expo to be held in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region. About two billion people who have never been to a world fair would get a chance to attend.

Residents believe the UAE's infrastructure and architecture should be showcased to the world.

"Dubai's track record has been successful and it has pulled off impossible tasks," said Varkki Pallathucheril, a professor from the United States who teaches urban planning at the American University of Sharjah.

"I hope that progress brings economic robustness which is what an expo will bring to a city."

rtalwar@thenational.ae