Helal Saeed Almarri
Expo 2020 ‘will boost GCC tourism’
Dubai, November 28, 2013
Hosting Expo 2020 will have a significant impact on the tourism industry of Dubai and the UAE, said the director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre.
Helal Saeed Almarri was speaking from Paris shortly after Dubai was announced as the winning host city for Expo 2020 at the final vote counting in Paris yesterday (November 27).
“From the outset, Dubai’s Expo bid was part of the government’s long-term vision that ensures sustainable national development and a prosperous future for the UAE. Hosting Expo 2020 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one that will be maximised to accelerate the growth of the tourism industry in Dubai, the UAE and the wider GCC region,” Almarri said.
Gathered in Paris, France, for the 154th Bureau International des Exhibitions (BIE) General Assembly, representatives of the 168 BIE member nations voted on bids from the final four contenders – Dubai, Brazil, Russia and Turkey – to host the 2020 edition of one of the world’s oldest, largest and most significant international mega-events. Dubai’s bid - themed ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ - won with 116 votes.
“In May of this year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, approved the Tourism Vision for 2020, a strategy which sets a clear path towards developing Dubai’s tourism industry and furthering its contribution to Dubai’s economy, with the headline target of welcoming 20 million visitors to Dubai a year by 2020,” Almarri said.
“In our journey to achieve our target, we will can now leverage the hosting of Expo 2020 and the focus it will place on Dubai as a means to attract visitors to Dubai, not just during the six months of the Expo itself, but in the seven years leading up to it.”
Between October 2020 and April 2021, more than 25 million visitors are expected to attend Expo 2020, 70 per cent of which will be from outside the UAE – the largest number of international visitors in Expo history.
“The legacy of holding such an event in Dubai is where the real value lies. A wide range of sectors will benefit, including construction, engineering and transportation, and of course the hospitality, retail and aviation sectors will experience a significant positive impact, further strengthening their already robust positions,” Almarri continued.
“The announcements made at the recent Dubai Airshow demonstrate the extraordinary strength of the aviation sector in Dubai and the UAE and Retail has been one of the leading drivers of the Emirate’s economic growth to date.
“With regards to hospitality, there are currently 82,000 hotel and hotel apartment rooms in Dubai with this figure expected to double by 2020: this expanded hotel portfolio will be vital to ensure the demands of the Expo visitors are met and DTCM will work with our partners in both government and the private sector to put in place the infrastructure and processes needed to meet the demand of the 25 million expected visitors over the Expo period,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service