Arabian Travel Market 2017: Expo 2020 legacy examined in Dubai

Arabian Travel Market 2017: Expo 2020 legacy examined in Dubai

Expo 2020 Dubai, the first mega-event to be hosted in the Middle East, will lay the foundations for a diversified and sustainable tourism industry through a series of initiatives designed to support the UAE’s plans for diversification to a knowledge-based economy.

The strategy was revealed during Expo 2020 Dubai: The Legacy, the first session to take place on the Arabian Travel Market Global Stage.

The panel was chaired by UAE broadcaster and journalist, Richard Dean, and featured Marjan Faraidooni, senior vice president, legacy developments, Expo 2020 Dubai; Anita Mehra, senior vice president, communications, Dubai Airport; Issam Kazim, chief executive, DTCM; and Deirdre Wells chief executive, UKinbound.

Faraidooni, said: “We planned the Expo with two missions in mind. The first is to make sure visitors have an unforgettable experience from the second they step foot in Dubai until they leave.

“The second mission is the legacy question, Expo 2020 is being built with legacy in mind and all assets will remain after the event including the buildings and transport infrastructure.”

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Last year, Expo 2020 Dubai awarded over 1,200 contracts, worth US$544.5 million and a further 47 construction contracts worth $3 billion are due to be awarded in 2017.

Plans for the site after Expo 2020 concludes will see 80 per cent of the plot re-developed with all Expo’s assets and transport infrastructure re-purposed for future use by a range of tenants and major private sector firms.

Indeed, Siemens AG became the first firm to announce plans earlier this year, when it confirmed its global headquarters for airports, cargo and ports logistics, will be based out of the Expo2020 site from 2021.

Sharing lessons from the London 2012 Olympics, which saw an additional two million tourists arrive in the British capital for the games, Wells advised the Expo 2020 committee to also focus on post-event destination marketing.

She said: “London is an established market, welcoming an average of 30 million visitors a year. We knew the 2012 Olympics would attract significant additional arrivals so the critical part of the planning was focused on legacy, with tourism a key component.

“The Olympics is a major sports and broadcast event, so in terms of investment and planning around 60% of our £30 million budget over four years was dedicated to post-event activities.”

Dubai’s plans to engage a wider spectrum of visitors beyond 2020, places heavy focus on social media interaction and User Generated Content, which has transformed how tourists plan, book and enjoy itineraries.