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November 19, 2014

World Expo 2020: A Game Changer for Dubai

By Swati Srivastava

Following the UAE’s win to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai, all eyes are now focused on how the popular event would witness to be a game changer for the region’s job market in general and for Dubai in particular.

Dubai has undergone a noticeable transformation from ‘a pearl-diving center’ to the world’s one of the rapidly growing cities. The financial crisis 2008 left several economies in a slumber. However, Dubai quickly covered the distance from the ashes to emerging as the first Middle East country to beat the tough competitors (Sao Paolo, Ekaterinburg, and Izmir) and snatch the World Expo 2020 bid. 

Today, Dubai is a major trade, logistics and tourism hub of the world. With several upcoming projects such as Mohammed Bin Rashid City and some other delayed schemes again coming back in the pipeline, Dubai’s economic boost is anticipated.

World Expo 2020: The Growing Opportunities

The economic developments in the UAE, Dubai, as well as the wider regions are expected to reach heights in the coming years after Dubai’s win to host the Expo 2020. As per the Economic Impact report, Dubai Expo 2020 would create more than 277,000 jobs during 2013 to 2021. Out of the total jobs, over 40 per cent jobs would be available in the travel & tourism sector. 

According to several reports, the Dubai Expo 2020 would bring a direct impact on various sectors and spur the investments in hospitality, construction, real estate, tourism, and financial service sectors. 

The changing game for the various sectors

Let’s take a look at how some of the key sectors will be impacted:

Tourism and Hospitality

As per the Alpen Capital’s GCC Hospitality Industry Report 2012, the hospitality market in the GCC is expected to reach US$28.3 billion by 2016 from US$19.2 billion in 2011. Dubai 2020 will attract 25 million visitors over the period, of which over 70 per cent will constitute the non-UAE visitors.

The impact of the mega event has a key impact on the hospital industry in Dubai. According to the sources, over 45,000 additional hotel rooms will be added to the available 82,000 hotel room supply to accommodate the Expo 2020 visitors in the future.  Moreover, several projects for hotel construction are under pipeline near the Dubai 2020 site, and the other locations of the city. The estimated investment in the hotel industry is US$7.2 billion, which will also increase the job opportunities.

Real Estate & Construction

These sectors are the immediate beneficiary of the World Expo 2020. The Government of Dubai has embarked funds for the excellent infrastructure development, particularly for hospitality, real estate and construction industries.

The real estate and construction sector will also significantly benefit from the massive expansion planned in the hotel capacity of Dubai. For accommodating the housing need of the expatriates during the event, real estate projects are seeing an all-time boom. The event is also believed to bring a major impact on the demand of office spaces.

Mohammed Bin Rashid City is one of the significant real estate developments going on in Dubai. This master plan would include more than 100 hotels, a public park, and the world’s biggest shopping mall.

Transportation & Infrastructure

The event has given an opportunity to support its ongoing efforts to become a global transportation hub for cargo and passengers. Moreover, the Dubai government has also funded projects to expand the city’s airport infrastructure (Dubai International Airport), which is known as the world’s second busiest airport in terms of the international passenger traffic. The expansion costing is estimated to be US$7.8 billion.

Dubai’s second major international airport, Al Maktoum International Airport holds a capacity to manage over 160 million passengers every year. The further development of the airport will play a key role in servicing the Dubai Expo 2020. Apart from this, the Dubai’s Transport & Road Authority has announced the proposal worth US$1.4 billion for the city’s metro rail line extension.

Last Words

A recent statement by the Dubai World Trade Center, the overall economic impact of the mega event 2020 in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) is valued at approximately AED 90 billion. Over the years, the Dubai Expo impact will witness a ripple effect throughout the region and the GCC.

Using the Expo as a springboard, several businesses in the region seek opportunities to build alliances, expand, and create job opportunities. This global opportunity goes well with the Expo theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.

About the Author: Swati Srivastava is an avid writer with a keen interest in the extensive domain of job search and career counselling. She is Assistant Manager Content at Naukrigulf.com (a part of Infoedge), her articles are published on several reputed job search portals and online career magazine. 

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

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