In November 2013, when the UAE won the bid to host the largest event in the Arab world – the Expo 2020 Dubai – it seemed like a distant dream. In the next few years, concerted efforts and investments have gone into sketching out the plan and building the Expo site in Dubai. Selection of themes and bringing the stakeholders together came next. Over to 2020, now the finishing touches are being given to an event that promises to further elevate the UAE’s position on the world map as a nation driven by humanistic values, spirit of innovation and commitment to sustainability.
Being held under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, Expo 2020 Dubai is preparing to open its doors on October 20, 2020, and run until April 10, 2021. As a platform, it promises to change the future for the better through collaboration, innovation and sustainable development.
In different phases – pre, during and post/legacy – Expo 2020 Dubai will significantly contribute to the UAE economy. It is through construction activity in the pre-Expo phase; visitor activity during Expo; and commercial activity and visitors to Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC) during the legacy phase.
According to global consulting firm Ernst & Young, Expo 2020 Dubai is an investment in a sustainable, resilient and diversified UAE economy, one that will contribute AED122.6 billion to the country’s economy and support more than 900,000 job-years between 2013 and 2031.
Commenting on the long-term impact of Expo 2020 Dubai, Shaun Vorster, vice president, strategy and business integration – programming for Expo 2020 Dubai said, “From the start, the entire Expo site was built not only to host the world’s greatest show but to create a brand-new city once Expo’s doors close in April 2021. That city, known as District 2020, will be a welcoming, dynamic hub for innovation, collaboration and aspiration, and will form an anchor for Dubai’s developing knowledge economy – a key pillar of the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda.”
Accenture is one of the premier partners of Expo 2020 Dubai and Xavier Anglada, managing director – Accenture Digital and Innovation Lead, MENA firmly believes in the legacy value of Expo 2020 Dubai. “The job market is expected to grow, especially centred on the tourism sector. Having seen the tourism potential in the UAE – with the Expo set to boost it further – as well as in Saudi Arabia – we are creating a global hub for tourism innovation headquartered in Dubai with a centre in Riyadh. We aim to offer a data-driven, personalised, seamless experience to tourists – encompassing transportation, hospitality, leisure, F&B, retail. We are developing assets, recruiting people, collaborating with public and private entities to create an integrated ecosystem. Expo is a great platform where we can not only build but also showcase tangible results from these initiatives.”
Almost 39,000 organisations from more than 150 countries are registered to do business with Expo 2020. And the platform is committed to promoting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
‘Made in the UAE’ brand, The Camel Soap Factory – which is already selling a range of Expo-branded products at ENOC’s ZOOM stores and will develop another special range to be displayed at the Expo site – is a good example. The brand’s sustainability goals are aligned with Expo 2020 Dubai. “Based on estimations, Expo is expected to attract 25 million visitors. To be able to showcase our products and have them reviewed by this audience offers phenomenal economic potential,” stated Brian Stobo, commercial director and co-founder of The Camel Soap Factory. “The excitement is certainly building up, especially since we crossed the ‘one year to go’ threshold, and building up our efforts to leverage the massive economic potential.”
Another home-grown, high street fashion brand Splash – part of retail conglomerate Landmark Group – is Expo 2020 Dubai’s official apparel licensee. Splash’s Expo-themed collection will be available in stores across the GCC region from January 22, 2020 onwards. The collection, inspired by the Expo 2020 Dubai logo, is designed on the pillar of sustainability – a promise that the brand has been living since 2016. At the same time, through the collection, Splash has demonstrated its support towards the Expo 2020 sub-theme of sustainability and a shared passion for inspiring visitors to be part of creating a better, more sustainable future. “We took on this licensee agreement because as a home-grown brand, we have been in the business for over 20 years. We are confident with the resources we have, and we know that we can meet the demand. Importantly, being sustainable is a core quality within Splash, and we are excited to launch this sustainable, smart and trendy Expo 2020 collection, which is all about wearable, sustainable materials,” said Raza Beig, CEO, Splash and director, Landmark Group.