EXPO 2020: Izmir out, Dubai in final round
Dubai, November 27, 2013
Dubai has gone through to the final round of voting to determine the host of World Expo 2020 following the elimination of Turkey's Izmir in the second round of voting. Earlier Brazil's Sao Paulo was eliminated in the first round.
Dubai topped in the second round with 87 votes (52.72 per cent). It won 47 per cent votes in the first round. It is facing Russia's Ekaterinburg in the final round.
The voting is taking place at the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) general assembly in Paris.
The 168 member states of the BIE are voting electronically for their favourite city.
Four candidate cities - UAE's Dubai; Turkish city of Izmir; Ekaterinburg in Russia; and Sao Paulo in Brazil -- were in the race before the elimination of Sao Paulo.
The entire voting preocess is estimated to take approximately three hours. The BIE is expected to announce the host nation at approximately 17.30 Paris time (20.30 UAE time).
The various delegates of the BIE (one per member nation) vote for their preferred bids. If no city garners 50 per cent of the vote, the lowest scoring city is removed from the ballot and the process is repeated until a city receives 50 per cent of the vote.
Earlier, all the candidate cities completed their presentations before the assembly. The presentations were kicked off by Dubai, seen as the favourite to win the bid. Each city made a 20-minute presentation.
Dubai's presentation was made by Reem Al Hashimi, UAE Minister of State and managing director of the Dubai World Expo 2020 Bid Committee.
“We will endeavour to give the world an authentic portrait of a fast moving world in 2020,” she said. “We will give Expo 2020 the recognition it deserves.”
“I hope you have been touched by the spirit of our young country. We have pioneered the concept of one pavilion-one nation.”
“Dubai Expo 2020 will be the first carbon neutral mega-event,” she highlighted.
“Connecting Minds, Creating the Futures is not just a theme. My generation has been inspired by our forefathers, they have entrusted us with a city that is capable of hosting the world,” Al Hashimy elaborated.
“The UAE is a model of openness and stability. It is now our turn to hand over this legacy to the next generation,” she added.
In Dubai, crowds of hundreds of people were waiting for the result in front of big screens outside the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building.
"We will know in the evening which of the four countries was chosen," BIE said, adding the results would be published on its website.
The World Expo -- which showcases technology, architecture and culture, while drawing visitors to host cities and generating business -- is held every five years for a period of six months.
Shanghai was the last host city and Milan is next in line in 2015. Turkey's Izmir lost the bid in 2015.
The fairs hold huge stakes for would-be hosts, which are prepared to spend billions on infrastructure, hotels, buildings and other preparations to attract millions of tourists.
China said it spent $4.2 billion when Shanghai hosted the last World Expo in 2010, double what it spent at the Beijing Olympics.
Some Chinese media reported the true cost of hosting closer to $58 billion, many times the $164 million profit it reportedly made mainly through ticket sales and corporate sponsorship deals.
While the Shanghai fair pulled in a record 73 million visitors, not all expos prove to be a major tourist draw.
The number of visitors to the 2000 fair in the German city of Hanover were less than half the 40 million expected, leaving a financial shortfall of over a billion euros, according to German media.
But the fairs help the local economy through a surge in public spending and offer the host country a moment in the spotlight on the world stage.
"It's not the matter of a Formula 1 circus that comes in for a week and then leaves," said Brazil's representative, Maria Celina de Azevedo Rodriques. "It's not a matter where of where you want to be in 2020 but where you want to be after 2020, where you are going to get the best return for your investment," she added.
Dubai, which has lobbied hard to host the 2020 fair, is eager to be the first country in the Middle East to host a World Expo.
With a successful bid for Dubai likely to trigger billions in new investment, concerns have emerged that hosting the fair could create a building boom that could turn to bust - as happened four year ago - if not handled carefully.
If Dubai -- home to the world's tallest tower, largest man-made island and one of the world's busiest airports -- is selected, it will be a first for an Arab country.
Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, has highlighted its culture of tolerance in its bid, while Izmir is focusing on healthcare.
Russia is presenting the industrial city of Ekaterinburg as part of a bid to develop the Ural region into a hub for technology and innovation.
The Expo is expected to draw more than 20 million people to the host city and give a boost to its economy. - TradeArabia News Service and Reuters