With the doors to Dubai Expo 2020 set to open a year tomorrow, Sumathi Ramanathan has said the show presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for hoteliers.
Speaking during AHIC on the Road, the director of destination marketing for the event said its impact would be felt for many years.
“Expo 2020 is the best branding exercise for the emirate – it will drive demand before, during and after the opening,” Ramanathan explained.
“Delegations are beginning to arrive even now, along with technical and construction teams.
“Performers will also be arriving to prepare the programme.
“Obviously, during the event will are still expecting to welcome a huge number of guests from around the world.”
She added: “As the world begins to recover from Covid-19, Dubai Expo 2020 will act a six-month branding exercise for the emirate, with the eyes of the world on us.
“We have seen with previous mega-events, arrivals can increase by up to 30 per cent for up to two years post-event.
“So, for the hotel industry, this is not a short-term opportunity – the opportunities start right from now, and could go on for years after the event.”
Dubai Expo 2020 will now be hosted from October 21st next year, until March 31st, 2022, following a decision by the Bureau International des Expositions and local organising committee to delay for a year.
Ramanathan was, however, unable to offer new anticipated visitor figures.
She explained: “There is still quite a lot of uncertainty within the global travel landscape, so what we are doing at present is monitoring the data.
“Currently, we believe it is too early to make any meaningful predictions, but we hope that by quarter one next year we will be able to share the revised visitation numbers.
“However, we can see demand and appetite from the business community is very strong – this will be a great opportunity for Dubai.”
Dubai Expo 2020 will connect nations, multinational corporations, non-government organisations and millions of visitors from all over the world, providing an opportunity to see future innovations, marvel at unique architecture, experience diverse cultures, taste cuisines from all over the world, and enjoy live performances, art and other entertainment.
Through its theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, and its three subthemes – opportunity, mobility and sustainability – Expo 2020 aims to unlock the potential of each visitor while encouraging collaboration and presenting opportunities for all to make a difference towards the future development of humanity and our planet.
Through numerous initiatives on the journey, such as Expo Live, the Expo School Programme, the World Majlis series and various business programmes, Expo 2020 is already making a significant impact in Dubai.
The event will provide a platform to foster creativity, innovation, and collaboration globally.
It is based on the belief that sharing innovative ideas and building partnerships will inspire the way we shape our future in the most positive way possible.
Expo 2020 Dubai will work towards enabling new opportunities for individuals and communities to help them achieve their needs and inspire them to pursue their future aspirations (aligning with the global vision of the United Nations sustainable development goals.
The event will focus on providing easier access to knowledge, markets and innovation by working on solutions and technologies that will facilitate the movement of people, goods and ideas.
The Expo site, which will cover a total of 438 hectares, is located in the Dubai South district, near the Al Maktoum International Airport.
The spatial organisation of the site embodies the Expo’s theme and subthemes, drawing inspiration from local urban design, architecture and the natural environment.
The site is designed to resemble three petals connected to Al Wasl Plaza, the iconic centrepiece named after the historic name for Dubai, meaning ‘the connection’.
The 150 metre-diameter plaza will feature a massive domed trellis that will also act as an immersive 360-degree projection surface.
It will also connect to the Dubai Metro Route 2020 link and the falcon-inspired UAE Pavilion.
The concept of sustainability has been integrated into the planning of the site and its use both during and after the Expo.
As well as strategies to optimise the sustainability of buildings and infrastructure, Expo 2020 Dubai aims to generate half of the site’s energy needs over the six-month duration from renewable sources, and half of this will be generated on the site itself.
All water used in irrigation and cooling will be recycled, and 90 per cent of the permanent construction material will be reused or repurposed in the aftermath of the Expo.
Find out more on Dubai Expo 2020 here.