UAE is well prepared to present the best offer to win the bid to host Expo 2020: Abdullah bin Zayed

UAE is well prepared to present the best offer to win the bid to host Expo 2020: Abdullah bin Zayed

The UAE is well prepared to present the best offer to win the bid to host the World EXPO 2020, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Foreign Minister, said yesterday.

He said that ''The UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has made record development in all fields'' He made his remarks while receiving the Enquiry Mission of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), led by Steen Christiansen, Chairman of the BIE Executive Committee. The BIE, based in Paris, is the non-governmental organisation responsible for the World EXPOs.

The Enquiry Mission arrived in the UAE on Sunday, 24th February, for a four-day trip, to assess the UAE's ability to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.

Sheikh Abdullah added that the country has become a hub and a major player in the global economy, maintaining strategic economic, trade, scientific and technological partnerships with most influential countries across the world.

Over recent years, he noted, the UAE had shown high capabilities and efficiency in hosting hundreds of major international exhibitions, becoming a global powerhouse in the specialised exhibition industry.

"We are keen on showing the real face of this part of the world, which is characterised with openness, tolerance and diversity. The UAE Government is deeply committed to presenting the best offer to win the bid to host the World EXPO 2020," he added.

"We are proud of the efforts being exerted to depict the open and creative nature of the UAE to the world." Sheikh Abdullah said the hosting of EXPO 2020 in the UAE, in general, and Dubai in particular, will provide a unique event, since the majority of the visitors who will visit it will come from many countries of the world. This would be made possible, he said, because of the UAE's strategic location, its state-of-the-art infrastructure and modern airports and seaports as well as other advantages.

"We will be honoured to host visitors to see the openness and tolerance being enjoyed by the UAE," he added. Sheikh Abdullah noted that the Expos are not only commercial and economic gatherings, but also cultural platforms that bring people from different backgrounds together to exchange knowledge and expertise.

The UAE, he said, was actively engaged in the series of Expos which provided an ideal opportunity to share its experiments with other countries in a fast changing world fraught with daunting challenges and to open up new prospects for its future.

''We are determined to further develop the exhibition industry, given the valuable significance of this vital sector to expose the UAE to other countries in light of the economic openness policy adopted by the UAE,' Sheikh Abdullah affirmed. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


Arab Media Tourism Forum announces full support for UAE bid to host EXPO 2020

Cairo: The Arab Media Tourism Forum has announced full support for UAE bid to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.

The participants of the forum organised in Egypt, agreed that UAE has the full potential for hosting this important event and have a rich experience in organizing major exhibitions.

It's worth mentioning that media representatives from 17 countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Kuwait, Sudan and Lebanon are participating in the forum.

Hussain Al Mannai, Chairman of the Arab Centre for Tourism Media, said that participants in the forum discussed UAE's major potentials, especially Dubai, in the field of aviation, internal transportation, roads, and hotels besides its geographical location and public services. They agreed that Dubai is the best place for hosting this international event.

He also noted that the forum called on Arab journalists to support "Dubai Expo 2020" bid as the United Arab Emirates will be the first Arab country to host this important exhibition.

For his part, Magdi Selim of the Egyptian Tourism Authority said that Dubai's hosting for Expo, will make considerable economic recovery in different countries of the region, noting that the United Arab Emirates, with its infrastructure and advanced hotel services is best suited to host this event.

The 5th edition of 'Arab Media Tourism Forum' in its opening ceremony presented a documentary showing the major potential of the UAE, and Dubai, in the fields of infrastructure, aviation, airports, roads, hotels and shopping centres. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


Expo 2020 site chosen to reflect theme of ‘connectivity’

Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of DTCM and CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre, talks about the proposed site for Expo 2020 in Dubai.


Can you tell us more about the proposed Expo 2020 site?

The Expo site has been carefully chosen to reflect the 2020 Expo theme of ‘Connectivity’ while providing the best possible operational and logistical efficiencies for participants, easy access for all visitors, and a high level of international visibility.

The 438-hectare ‘Dubai Trade Centre – Jebel Ali’ is one of the largest sites proposed for a World Expo and one of the most seamlessly accessible: a custom bonded Sea-Air logistics corridor that will allow rapid transit of people from airports and ports in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The site is located next to the new Al Maktoum International Airport and in close proximity to Jebel Ali Port. Equidistant between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it is 30 minutes from Dubai International Airport and 40 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport.


How has sustainability been incorporated into the site design?

With The Green Economy Initiative, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and in January last year, the government has demonstrated its commitment to making the UAE a pioneer in the green economy and to preserving a sustainable environment that supports long-term economic growth. Both the bid to host Expo 2020 and the master plan for the proposed Expo site have been designed in line with this commitment.

Sustainability is a core sub-theme of the Expo and therefore it is a core tenet of the site design, the operations of the Expo and the delivery of the Expo experience. Each aspect of environmental impact — energy, water, waste, materials, public realm and sustainability awareness — has been addressed in the master plan, and formulated in accordance with international best practice. Our sustainability agenda is too detailed to go into here but a few examples are:

• Supplying a substantial amount of the Expo Site’s energy needs over the event’s six-month duration with energy from renewable sources. This includes making Dubai Expo 2020 ‘solar-centric’ by integrating photovoltaic panels throughout the site — for example in building facades, shading structures and street lighting — and encouraging participants to integrate the panels into their own pavilion designs.

• Adopting a three pronged approach to water usage: reduced demand, efficient use and re-use. For example, using indigenous plant species within the landscape design and using Treated Sewage Effluent for district cooling and irrigation.

• Using Expo 2020 to catalyse change in the waste management practices within the region, ensuring that not only does Expo 2020 limit its own contribution to landfill, it also creates a standard that other development projects and companies aim to match.

• Limiting the environmental impact of vehicles by using the latest advancements in sustainable transport systems. It is conceived that it will be largely a car-free site, with park-and-ride facilities and the ‘ExpoRider’ bus service acting as the main forms of transportation. The Dubai Metro Red Line will be extended to service the site and the master plan also includes a cable-car system which will enable visitors to circumnavigate the entire site.

• Considering the re-usage — and in some cases relocation — of the infrastructure and buildings, post-Expo. As a temporary event, the re-use of Expo assets is of fundamental importance and a core aspect of our legacy plans. It is intended that anchor structures such as the Welcome Pavilion, the Innovation Pavilion, the UAE Pavilion and the Theme Pavilions will be reconfigured and re-used once the event is concluded — as will shade structures, transport systems, trees, street furniture, lighting and paving materials.

• Encouraging the use of recycled and local materials.

Adopting tactics such as the above will ensure that the theme of Sustainability will not only be brought to life through the environment created and the experiences delivered throughout the Expo period, but also it will be part of the fabric of the site itself.


What will happen to the site after the Expo 2020?

Every aspect of the Master Plan has been designed with due consideration to its after-life and with a defined strategy for re-use.

The Expo Site itself will transform into the planned urban development at The Dubai Trade Centre-Jebel Ali. Focused around a large exhibition centre, this will include an Institute zone featuring Research Centres and a University which will be created out of the Innovation Pavilion and the Theme Pavilions and will nurture long-term thought leadership across the three subthemes of Mobility, Sustainability and Opportunity.

The UAE National Pavilion and Welcome Pavilion will be relocated and transformed into a National Museum that celebrates the history of the UAE as well as being a lasting testimonial to Dubai Expo 2020. – Gulf News


World Expo 2020: New city to rise within Dubai

World Expo 2020, the international event Dubai is bidding hard to bring home, would feature a spectacular exhibition, pavilions, cultures and business gatherings. What Dubai is hoping to do with it is make it a benchmark for human progress and a roadmap for the way forward.

Located on 438 hectares, the iconic design of Dubai Expo 2020 will be an additional permanent legacy to leverage the surrounding facilities and fostering innovation, education and global collaboration.

The site’s masterplan has been designed to visualise the country’s Expo bid theme: Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. On the south-western edge of the city, equidistant between Dubai and Abu Dhabi and connected to 300 global destinations every day, the site chosen is one of the largest ever earmarked for an Expo world fair. It will be 10 minutes from Jebel Ali Port and situated next to the new Dubai World Central Airport.

The designated site will be able to cater for 247 participants and over 25 million visitors with transport and pedestrian circulation strategies prepared accordingly. Moreover, further connectivity offered through emirates such as Sharjah. The site will also have easy access to several of the city’s main expressways, including Sheikh Zayed Road and the Dubai Bypass Road.

Developing blueprint

HOK, the leading group of expert firms, developed the blueprint for the specialised, highly connected environment. Experiential master planning specialist Thinkwell is designing Expo entertainment, including shows and performances. At the core of the site is an open plaza called Al Wasl (“the connection”) — a historical name for Dubai and branching out from the plaza are three main zones that symbolise the bid’s sub themes of opportunity, mobility and sustainability.

Each of these zones is arranged with a larger pavilion on the parameter and a small cluster at the centre to encourage the pedestrian flow across the entire site. This ensures all pavilions get dynamic presence in the heart of the Expo.

At the edge of this plaza in the convention pavilion, an entirely new pavilion concept that was designed to intensify all levels of Expo engagement with presentation, discussion and evolving exhibitions which will be created jointly by participants, visitors and guest thought leaders.

It would be a hub to connect so many people in so many ways every day, not just in terms of straightforward communication, but also culturally and socially.

Arab souq

Inspired by traditional Arab souqs, the design integrates the UAE’s unique architectural heritage and environment of vibrancy, interactive and trade with the requirements of the Expo to foster the fundamental principles of innovation, partnership and collaboration between participants and visitors.

From the exciting energy of the souq to the area for the best practices and innovation, opportunities bounce to form partnership for all nations as well as for private and public sectors inside.

Mobility, is the second way that weaves into the fabric of the design of Dubai Expo 2020, where state of art, computer central and logistic system are provided.

A fully automated underground system will connect all pavilions and support other facilities and enable invisible services along the opening hours.

Moreover, Dubai said it plans build an underground railway system to connect the Al Wasl with the outer pavilions. Dubai is competing against four other candidate cities, Sao Paulo (Brazil), Ayutthaya (Thailand), Azmir (Trukey), Ekaterinburg (Russia), bidding to host the 2020 edition of the monumental global gathering.

The winner will be announced in November following a vote by the 163 member nations of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the Paris-based inter-governmental organisation responsible for the World Expo.


By 2020, the emirate will be able to offer enough transport links to accommodate about 25 million visitors to Dubai for Expo 2020. The mass-transit options will include zero-emission buses, new Metro stations and dedicated lanes on key arterial roads to take visitors to the planned site at Dubai Trade Centre – Jebel Ali.

As 80 per cent of the visitors are expected to use the mass transit, the Metro will be able up to ferry more than 75,000 people a day to the site, while commuters can board one of 750 ExpoRider buses from 35 points across the city.

The masterplan for 2020 includes construction of an extension to the Red Line that will take passengers from Jebel Ali to the Expo. In addition to all these, Expo lanes will be provided on the key arterial routes leading the site for the use of official vehicles, ExpoRider buses and taxis.

Future investment

Whatever infrastructure will be built it is an investment for the future. The site will serve as a permanent attraction beyond 2020 and will enhance further the UAE’s long-term appeal as a premier destination for high-profile global events

After the six-month event, the facility of 423 hectares would be further developed as a state-of-the-art exhibition and convention centre. The first phase of which would be the indoor entertainment venue to be built for Expo 2020.

There will be an institute Zone that encompasses research centres and university focused on fostering collaborative thought leadership between academia, corporations and entrepreneurs. The university would form the core of a new “institute zone” and would include research centres.

Legacy’ is one of the key words to be reflected through the Expo 2020 theme and post the mega event, the zone of the site will be transferred into a National Museum commemorating the evolution of the UAE and celebrating the first World Expo for the Arab World. – Gulf News


A united front for Expo bid

More than 1,000 students and volunteers gathered to form a human chain in the configuration of the Dubai Expo 2020 logo to show where the site will be built and to show the unity of the UAE people.

The BIE Enquiry Mission flew by helicopter, on Wednesday, for an aerial tour of the greenfield location that has been identified as the spot for developing the Dubai Expo 2020 site — the Dubai Trade Centre – Jebel Ali.

As the helicopter flew above, the image below was filled with young students and volunteers from a number of schools and colleges in the UAE including Dubai Men’s College, GEMS Wellington International School and GEMS Westminster School, forming the shape of the Dubai Expo 2020 logo to signify where the site will be built.

The 438-hectare site is one of the largest sites proposed for a World Expo and is among one of the most seamlessly accessible, reflecting the Dubai Expo 2020 theme of ‘connectivity’. Its strategic location, equidistant between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, provides the best possible operational and logistical efficiencies for participants bringing in materials for their exhibitions and pavilions, as well as easy access for the expected 25 million visitors.

Situated next to the new Dubai World Central Airport and within a 10-minute proximity to Jebel Ali Port — the largest container port between Rotterdam and Singapore — the site allows for easy transit between airports and ports — an important consideration for potential Expo participants.

The site master plan has been designed as a manifestation of the country’s Expo bid theme: ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. At the core of the site is an open plaza called Al Wasl (“the connection”) — an historical name for Dubai, and branching out from the plaza are three main zones that symbolise the bid’s sub-themes of sustainability, mobility and opportunity. Inspired by traditional Arab souks, the design integrates the UAE’s unique architectural heritage and environment of vibrancy and trade with the requirements of the Expo, to foster the fundamental principles of innovation, partnership and collaboration between participants and visitors. – Khaleej Times


Expo 2020 to create 280,000 jobs from 2013-2021

Winning the Expo 2020 bid will have far-reaching impact on Dubai’s economy, accelerating growth, creating jobs and boosting opportunities for the emirate’s main sectors with the legacy it will leave behind.

The Expo is expected to contribute an increase of €28.8 billion to Dubai’s GDP and €17.7 billion (Dh86.2 billion) in added value to its economy, according to the Expo 2020 organisers.

The international gathering will create approximately 280,000 jobs in Dubai from 2013 to 2021, with about 10 per cent of those jobs being available from 2013 to 2017, they said.

The Expo will offer the country’s SME sector the exposure to showcase their products, network on a global scale and do business with international companies, Abdul Baset Al Janahi, chief executive of Dubai SME, told Gulf News.

“The economic impact of the Expo is tremendous…it will be a real qualitative jump and direct benefit for SMEs,” he said. “The countries that participate in the Expo will need to import their products, they will need logistic support on the ground and they will need staff. So this will be a big opportunity for SMEs to offer their services in logistics like transport, printing and utilities.”

Winning the Expo bid will give SMEs, which make up 95 per cent of the UAE’s businesses, more global reach and solid reputation.

“The Expo will be an opportunity for SMEs to exhibit their products and create business relations. Dubai and the UAE are already renowned but if we win the Expo, this gives a big push for SMEs in interacting with businesses abroad. It will be the first time a country in the Middle East hosts the Expo and this will give businesses a feel of confidence in dealing with SMEs,” Al Janahi said.

UAE-based businesses see the potential of contributing to the various infrastructure projects on the Expo site in Jebel Ali and serving ancillary industries around it.

“It will be a major boost for all the sectors in Dubai, which will significantly be reflected on the industrial sector,” said Abdullah Bel Houl, managing director of Dubai Industrial City.

The industrial sector provides the machinery and mechanical equipment, transport equipment and parts, base metal, chemicals, food and beverages and mineral products that will contribute to the needs and preparations for Expo 2020, he said.

Dubai Industrial City, which is located next to the new Al Maktoum Airport, will target exhibitors and investors with its products, including warehousing and logistics solutions, Bel Houl added.

The boost in traffic of tourists, companies and visitors expected to congregate in Dubai during the six-month Expo if it wins the bid, will translate into growth opportunities for UAE businesses across various sectors.

Retailers are optimistic that the expected increase in tourists will help boost the current growth levels of the retail sector.

“Dubai is on par with London in terms of available Gross Leasable Area (GLA), which reflects its maturity. Any further growth in Dubai’s retail sector will have to be in line with growing population and number of tourists,” said Iyad Malas, chief executive of Majid Al Futtaim Holding. – Gulf News


Qasr Al Hosn Festival to mark 250 years of Emirati history

The Qasr Al Hosn Festival, which begins tomorrow will mark 250 years of Emirati history and culture through world-class acts, historical exhibitions, an interactive zone and a series of educational talks.

Set to take place from February 28 to March 9 and then become an annual event, it also includes the specially designed show Story of a Fort, Legacy of a Nation by Italian-Belgian director Franco Dragone, according to a report published by The National daily.

As the birthplace of the capital, Qasr Al Hosn has played a fundamental role in Abu Dhabi's past while safeguarding its future, says Faisal Al Sheikh, the festival director and events manager at Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture -Authority.

"Qasr Al Hosn is of immense historical and cultural importance. Standing for more than two and a half centuries, the fort is the symbolic birthplace of Abu Dhabi," says Al Sheikh. "This festival is an opportunity for the entire community to come together and celebrate Emirati history, culture and tradition.

"The fort was once a gate of glory. Celebrating the UAE's history through this great festival will take us back to our roots and reminds us of our artistic and intellectual legacy." To help retell some of Abu Dhabi's most fascinating stories, the organisers commissioned Franco Dragone to create a memorable experience.

The result is Story of a Fort, Legacy of a Nation, which aims to bring the history of the Emirati -people to life, blending music, performances and spectacular special effects.

Story of a Fort, Legacy of a Nation will be staged in a 5,600-square-metre tent that rivals the Circus Phoenix in Paris, which is said to be the biggest in the world. More than 70 performers from 25 countries will participate in the production, which runs for 75 minutes. The cast, which includes professional dancers, acrobats and gymnasts, will be joined by a select group of -Emirati -performers.

"During these 75 minutes, you will learn the deep history, hidden secrets and stories behind the fort," says Al Sheikh.

Visitors are encouraged to "walk through Abu Dhabi's history" while experiencing four key themes: the Sea Corner, the Desert, the Oasis and Abu Dhabi Island. An exhibition, which includes a collection of videos and a selection of cultural -artefacts, sheds light on the fort's historical significance as well as the leadership's role in emphasising sovereignty and influence within the region.

Muntada Qasr Al Hosn, a three-day forum that will be hosted by the Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, will be offered in both English and Arabic. Presented by a panel of experts, the topics include the issues surrounding the fort, the nation and its people, and how the UAE's history will shape its future.

The story of the citadel is said to have begun around 1760, when the leader of the Bani Yas tribes, Sheikh Dhiyab bin Isa, built a watchtower to guard their water source. The tower was later turned into a fort by his son Sheikh Shakhbut bin Dhiyab. When Abu Dhabi rose in status, and also because of political shifts, Sheikh Shakhbut moved his residence from Liwa Oasis to Qasr Al Hosn.

A traditional souq with 60 stalls has been set up around the fort and visitors will be able to see artisans practising traditional Emirati crafts or try a hand at applying henna, palm weaving and telly - a traditional Arabian Gulf style of macramé?.

"The Qasr Al Hosn Festival offers an entirely new way for many proud sons and daughters to engage with Abu Dhabi's rich cultural past," said Faisal Al Sheikh. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


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