x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

What will be the UAE's Eiffel Tower?

A successful bid to host the World Expo would be a game changer for the UAE, with as many as 25 million people expected to visit the world fair.

In this May 1893 photo, the first Ferris wheel, which was capable of carrying 1,400 persons and rose 250 feet into the air, looms over the grounds of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Courtesy Associated Press
In this May 1893 photo, the first Ferris wheel, which was capable of carrying 1,400 persons and rose 250 feet into the air, looms over the grounds of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Courtesy Associated Press

DUBAI // The Eiffel Tower, Ferris wheels and ice-cream cones are just some of the innovations to come from world expos.

Every five years for six months, a country welcomes the world to an exhibition of cultural heritage, architectural legacy and technological innovation.

The first expo was in 1851 at the Crystal Palace in London. The event was such a success the organisers were able to use the proceeds from the 6 million visitors to build the famed Victoria and Albert Museum.

A successful bid would be a game changer for the UAE, with as many as 25 million people expected to visit the world fair.

“Hosting the Expo 2020 would be life-changing for Dubai and not just during the lifespan of the event, but for years to follow,” said Hamad Buamim, the director general of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“It would be a major step for the Mena region as a World Expo has never been held in this part of the world before.
“Expo 2020 is a great advertisement for Dubai and the wider UAE, and one that will help attract more visitors and businesses.”

Despite such obvious advantages, the World Expo began as and remains a non-commercial event.

The objectives are to educate the public and foster cooperation.

According to the convention drawn up by the Bureau International des Exhibitions, the body governing the event, expos should “demonstrate progress achieved” and “show prospects for the future”.

Such prospects at previous expos include the commercial typewriter, first shown in Philadelphia in 1876, the ice-cream cone in 1904 in St Louis, and the world’s first mobile phones in Japan in 1970.

Next year’s event, to be hosted in Milan, Italy, will focus on sustainability with the theme, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.

rtalwar@thenational.ae