x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

UAE Expo 2020 bid made a great impression, say inspectors

The BIE chief warns that it doesn’t mean victory, but 'from the heart' he has been left with a positive impression of Dubai's Expo 2020 bid.

(From left) Vincente Gonzalez Loscertales, Secretary General of the BIE, Steen Christensen, Chairman of BIE's Enquiry Mission to the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman/Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and other officials at the press conference of Expo Dubai 2020 held at Burj Al Arab hotel. Pawan Singh / The National
(From left) Vincente Gonzalez Loscertales, Secretary General of the BIE, Steen Christensen, Chairman of BIE's Enquiry Mission to the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman/Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and other officials at the press conference of Expo Dubai 2020 held at Burj Al Arab hotel. Pawan Singh / The National

DUBAI // The delegates who assessed the UAE’s bid to host Expo 2020 this week gained a very positive impression on their visit, their secretary general said yesterday.

Vicente Loscertales was speaking as the team from the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), which supervises world expos, completed its four-day enquiry mission to determine the feasibility of the bid.

“We have had a wonderful visit with well-organised meetings and serious reports and therefore our impression is good,” Mr Loscertales said.

But he made it clear his comments were not intended to prejudge the result of the mission or reveal what it would recommend.

“If you want a general impression which comes not from a professional enquiry mission but out of the heart, then out of the heart it is very positive,” Mr Loscertales said.

“The mission will now examine all the documents and answers and produce its report.”

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo, said the delegates had witnessed Dubai’s ability to welcome the world in 2020.

“If our country’s bid is successful, a world expo in Dubai will attract opportunities across the region and around the world,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

“A recent study by Oxford Economics analysing the economic impact of Dubai Expo 2020 concluded that the total economic output across the Dubai economy would amount to about €28.8?billion [Dh141.9bn] and create over 277,000 jobs between 2013 and 2021.

“Importantly, for every expo employee approximately 50 additional jobs will be sustained across the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

“Our expo will not only provide a significant boost to our national GDP, but will also leave a powerful legacy of a new international partnership, innovation and transformation for a generation to come in the UAE and the wider region beyond.”

Oxford Economics is a UK consultancy.

Dubai is one of five candidate cities bidding to host Expo 2020. BIE inspectors have conducted enquiry missions in two of the others – in Turkey and Thailand – and are due to visit Brazil and Russia soon.

“We’ve had a productive visit to the UAE,” said Steen Christensen, chairman of the mission. “We have been impressed by the country’s robust infrastructure and the level of national support for the bid.

“We have examined the project in its entire scale and scope, and here I wish to underline the purpose of the exercise was not to compare Dubai’s project with the four other candidates but to see whether the UAE project is viable and feasible and in line with the BIE regulations.

“I cannot and will not reveal our evaluation, but I can say that the project and the vision behind the project is clear and linked to the traditions and values of world expos.”

Mr Christensen, speaking at the Burj Al Arab to mark the end of the visit, said: “On a more personal note, I can say that the visit to Dubai has given me a very positive impression of the country and of the people, so in that regard it has been a very good and very enjoyable experience.”

Mr Loscertales said the delegates had been focusing on the technical aspects of the Dubai bid, which are set out in a 600-page dossier.

“Is the project viable, is it conforming with the rules, is the project feasible, is it not only supported by the authorities but by the population, is it good for the region and for the country, [will it] contribute to increase economic activity?” he said, outlining the questions the delegates sought to answer.

“All these elements are what we can consider the technical aspects, and these are what we are evaluating now.”

csimpson@thenational.ae