Expo 2020 ‘needs to deliver excitement’, says minister

The success of Dubai’s Expo 2020 will be defined by its “flawless delivery for participants and endless interest and pleasure for vast visitor numbers”, according to Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and managing director of the Dubai Expo 2020 Higher Committee.

In a speech to the HostCities conference at the Fairmont The Palm hotel in Dubai on Thursday, Ms Al Hashimy said: “As an experience, Expo 2020 needs to deliver exhilaration and excitement [and] quality, leaving beneficial legacies for Dubai, the UAE and the region as a whole.

“For some four years now, I’ve been closely involved in the planning of this most mega of mega events,” she said. “If you accept that the Olympics uses sport as a backdrop to demonstrate global unification and personal excellence, then an Expo could be seen as an Olympics of national culture, natural philosophy and non-stop exceptional entertainment.”


Ms Al Hashimy said that from the outset, Expo’s bid committee had viewed the six-month event, which is expected to attract investment of US$8 billion and generate an economic benefit of $24bn, “not as an end goal but as the starting line”.

She cited legacies from Expos in the past, such as physical structures such as the Eiffel Tower from the 1889 Expo, and resonant themes such as the Man and His World theme of Montreal’s 1967 event.

The latter, she said, “opened our eyes to the new age of environmentalism and sustainability”.

Beyond the economic and tourism benefits, Ms Al Hashimy argued that Dubai’s physical legacy would comprise “structures and infrastructures with cultural, educational and commercial benefits, including research institutes, business and residential spaces”.

She added: “This will be a very special area, clustering together science and industry hubs that will play to Dubai’s strengths in logistics, air transport and education, providing a further boost to our knowledge economy.”

mfahy@thenational.ae

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