Home | Forum | Print |

Dubai World Expo 2020

Monday 18 February 2019 (UAE)   

World Expo 2020 Dubai UAE

Dubai, UAE, will be the host city for the 2020 World Expo (World Fair) exhibition (exposition), to be held from October 2020 to April 2021, with the theme slogan "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future."

  • There are two types of fairs or exhibitions. A World Expo is held every 5 years, in years ending with a '0' or a '5', and lasts for 6 months. An International Expo is held in one of the years between two World Expos, and lasts for 3 months (for example Yeosu, South Korea in 2012).
  • The World Expo has never been held in the Middle East.
Expo 2020 Dubai
  • Proposed location of the 2020 World Expo in Dubai is 'Exhibition City', next to Dubai World Central area and Al Maktoum International Airport. A purpose built 400 hectare site will host the World Fair (if the bid is successful) (WAM news report 23 Nov 2011). Also the Jebel Ali Dubai Trade Centre (Dubai World Trade Center) - not the same as the Trade Center on Sheikh Zayed Road.
  • Dubai plans to spend $2 to $4 billion to develop infrastructure for hosting the exhibition (Emirates 24-7 report 28 February 2012).
Dubai megaprojects construction for the 2020 World Expo

Several megaprojects in Dubai which are planned or under construction might have the completion date brought forward as a result of Dubai being awarded host city status. Speculative reports only seen so far (Dec 2013).

Dubai wins 2020 World Expo host city

27 Nov 2013 - Dubai won the bid to host the 2020 World Expo with over 70% of the votes in the final round. Fireworks at the Burj Khalifa were set off to celebrate. A holiday has been declared for schools in the UAE on Thursday 28 November 2013. The voting (by secret ballot) went like this:

Country Brazil Russia Turkey UAE Abstentions Total
Voting round 1 13 votes 39 votes 33 votes 77 votes 1 163 countries
Voting round 2   41 36 87 1 165
Voting round 3   47   116 1 164
  • 2020 World Expo dates are 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021.
  • BIE announcement said "On November 27th, 2013, at 5.30 pm, the United Arab Emirates has been elected As the Host Country of the World Expo 2020 by the BIE Members States during the General Assembly."
Sheikh Hamdan with UAE flag at top of Burj Khalifa
Sheikh Hamdan takes UAE flag to the top of the Burj Khalifa
  • 28 Nov 2013 (press release): Celebrating the success of the UAE in winning the global bid to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, raised the UAE national flag at the top of the spire of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. ... His Highness Sheikh Hamdan scaled the spire, took position on its outer core before unfolding the National Flag that fluttered at the highest man-made point on earth. The crowning touch of Burj Khalifa, the telescopic spire is over 200 metres (700 ft) high, and is an integral part of the tower’s overall design.
Holiday for educational establishments in the UAE
  • WAM news report 27 Nov 2013: Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has ordered that tomorrow Thursday, 28th November 2013 be declared a holiday for all educational institutions across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) The announcement comes in celebration of UAE's grand achievement of winning the world Expo 2020 hosting bid.
Sheikh Hamdan at top of Burj Khalifa
Dubai World Expo 2020 in numbers

Data supplied by The Government of Dubai Media Office (28 Nov 2013).

  • AED 140 billion - Dubai's forecast GDP contribution to the economy from Expo 2020 related activities.
  • AED 25 billion - total investment in infrastructure related to Expo 2020, both temporary and permanent.
  • 25 million visitors expected to visit the exhibition, 70% coming from overseas.
  • 20 million tourists visiting Dubai - annual target for 2020.
  • 277,000 new job opportunities in Dubai from 2013-2020 related to the expo, and each new job estimated to sustain another 50 jobs in the region.
Voting and bidding process for the 2020 World Expo
  • 27 November 2013 is when the BIE members at the BIE General Assembly in Paris will vote for the winning city to host the 2020 World Expo. Results will be revealed sometime between 1700 and 2100 UAE time on the same day (Wednesday).
  • The BIE member states or countries each have one vote. As of 14 Nov 2013, there are 168 BIE members with The Republic of South Sudan the most recent to join. The USA is not a BIE member state (it withdrew its membership in 2001). Other countries also not BIE member states include (not a complete list) Iraq, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Singapore, Vatican City, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
  • If Dubai wins the bid for host city, a fireworks and laser show will be launched at the Burj Khalifa around 2200 on 27 Nov 2013 according to news reports (not confirmed). Update: fireworks went off about 2030 UAE time when the winner of the bid was announced as Dubai, UAE.
  • There are rumours or speculation that Dubai or the UAE will have a one day public holiday declared on Thu 28 Nov 2013 if Dubai wins the Expo 2020 host city bid. As of 26 Nov 2013, nothing official found or supplied to confirm the rumour. As 02 December is UAE National Day, it will be a long weekend anyway, so an additional day to extend it does not sound entirely implausible. It's possible the rumours started as a result of some schools in Dubai announcing an extra day holiday for the National Day weekend - some are closed 01 and 02 December, some are closed 01-03 December 2013.
Countries supporting the UAE and Dubai bid to host the 2020 World Expo
  • Britain - see UK
  • Canada - "Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, and Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, yesterday announced that Canada will support Dubai's bid for World Expo 2020" - WAM news 06 Nov 2013
  • China - "China's Vice Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan agreed that the UAE has the full capability to host the global event of Expo 2012. He promised to recommend to the relevant Chinese agencies, the UAE's wish for China's support." - WAM news 16 Apr 2012.
  • France - a statement issued after a meeting between Sheikh Mohammed and the French President Francois Hollande, said "The head of state praised the advantages of the application of Dubai Expo 2020." (15 Jun 2013).
  • Italy - letter from Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta supporting the bid delivered to Sheikh Mohammed (20 Nov 2013 news).
  • Mozambique - President of Mozambique Armando Emilio Guebuza, said at the Mozambique Business Conference "We are committed to support the UAE in their innovative attempt to host Expo 2020 which will bring promising returns in developing several countries in the region and worldwide and Mozambique is one of these" (19 Mar 2013 news reports).
  • Netherlands - a press release after the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frans Timmermans, met with his UAE counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said "The Netherlands is very pleased to support the UAE in its bid for Expo 2020" (17 Sep 2013).
  • St Lucia - "Sheikha Lubna expressed her thanks and appreciation to the Government of St Lucia for its support by nominating the UAE in its bid to host World Expo 2020 in Dubai" (WAM 28 Sep 2013).
  • United Kingdom (UK) - British Foreign Secretary William Hague made a statement to the UK parliament supporting Dubai as host city for Expo 2020, and in an article written for the Gulf News, said "We assess that the Dubai bid is exceptionally strong: focussed on global connectivity and accessibility, underpinned by its geographical location and its position as a global logistics and transport hub" (15 May 2013). The office of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, expressed support for the UAE's 2020 expo bid when Mr Cameron visited the UAE (16 Nov 2013 news).
Support for the Dubai Expo bid
  • 25 Nov 2013 (WAM) - a Dubai Statistics Centre "We Deserve It" survey of 65,000 UAE or Dubai residents in November 2013 said 99.6% of Emiratis surveyed thought Dubai is a strong candidate city for hosting the expo, and 99.4% supported the bid. Of the non-Emiratis surveyed, 99.1% thought Dubai is a strong candidate and 98.7% supported the bid. Over half the residents surveyed were Emirati nationals, the remainder were expat residents. It's perhaps surprising that anyone living in the UAE didn't support the bid - perhaps a few Brazilians, Russians, and Turks since they come from countries which have competing bids, but the 0.6% of Emiratis who didn't support the bid is harder to explain.
History and timeline for the 2020 World Expo in Dubai
  • Oct 2020 to Apr 2021 - 2020 World Expo dates.
  • Nov 2013 - winning bid for the 2020 World Expo announced.
  • 27 Nov 2013 - BIE General Assembly when member countries vote for the winning bid to host Expo 2020. Dubai announced as the winner.
  • 12 Jun 2013 - Thailand's bid for the 2020 World Expo was disqualified according to a report in the Bangkok Post - "The Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) has rejected Thailand as a contender to host the World Expo 2020 after the government failed to endorse the bid."
  • 12 Jun 2013 - 5 cities make presentations at the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) (International Exhibitions Bureau) in Paris to bid for the right to host the 2020 World Expo. The cities (countries) are Ayutthaya (Thailand), Dubai (UAE), Izmir (Turkey), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Yekaterinburg (Russia). Winning bid will be announced in November 2013.
  • 28 Feb 2013 - news reports said Dubai expects a €28bn boost to the economy if its bid is successful, 277,000 jobs would be created leading up to the event, and an estimated 25 million visitors would be expected. Also forecasted was another 50 jobs generated across the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia for every expo job.
  • Feb 2013 - BIE sent an inquiry mission to Dubai.
  • 01 Aug 2012 - Five "Premier Partners" announced, official supporters of the UAE bid for the World Expo 2020 to be held in Dubai. Companies are Dubai Airports, Emirates Airline, Emirates NBD, Etisalat, Jumeirah Group.
  • 28 Jun 2012 - "Be part of it" campaign launched in the UAE to encourage awareness and interest, with interactive kiosks located at shopping malls in the UAE. Starts at Deira City Center in Dubai from 28 June to 01 July 2012. Kiosks offer educational activities, photography against 150 global backdrops, prizes, and Expo souvenirs.
  • 12 Jun 2012 - the UAE Higher Committee for Hosting the World Expo 2020 gave a presentation about the bid to host World Expo 2020 in the UAE, at a meeting with Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in Paris.
  • 28 Feb 2012 - Dubai announces campaign to support its bid to host the 2020 World Expo. Chairman of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo is Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
  • 23 Nov 2011 (WAM news) - UAE presents its bid to the BIE headquarters in Paris, France, to host the 2020 World Expo in Dubai. WAM article said The UAE has presented a bid to the International Exhibitions Bureau at the conference held today in Paris at head-office of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to host Expo 2020 in Dubai.
  • 02 Nov 2011 (BIE news release) - the UAE submitted a letter for Dubai to bid as the host city for the 2020 World Fair. BIE news report (undated) said United Arab Emirates submits the candidature of Dubai for the World Expo 2020 on November 2nd, 2011 to the Bureau International des Expositions.
  • 28 Jun 2009 - press release announced that Sheikh Mohammed, Ruler of Dubai, had launched "Dubai 2020" and issued a decree establishing a working group to "explore the potential of Dubai hosting the World Expo and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020"
Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai and Dubai's bid for hosting the Expo
  • Chairman of the Dubai World Expo 2020 bid committee is Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
  • Managing Director of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai is Reem Al Hashemi (UAE Minister of State).
2020 World Expo bidding cities

The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) will choose the winning bid in November 2013. Text in grey represents abandoned or unconfirmed bids. Deadline for bid submission 02 November 2011 (it wasn't clear if Dubai's bid submission was submitted on time or not - BIE said a bid was submitted 02 November 2011, WAM news said a bid was submitted on 23 November 2011). The 2020 World Expo will run from 04 January to 30 June 2020.

  • Ayutthaya, Thailand - website www.thailandexpo2020.com, theme "Redefine Globalisation: Balanced Life, Sustainable Living" (disqualification reported 12 Jun 2013, not confirmed). Update: BIE newsletter (undated) after the 153rd BIE General Assembly in Paris on 11-12 June 2013 said "The General Assembly also approved unanimously the proposal of the Executive Committee and the Enquiry Mission not to consider the Ayutthaya 2020 Thailand project in accordance with the BIE regulations, to have no support of its government, guarantee required by the organisation."
  • Brisbane, Australia
  • Dubai, UAE - slogan/theme "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future", website www.expo2020dubai.ae
  • Ekaterinburg - see Yekaterinburg
  • Izmir, Turkey - website www.expoizmir.org.tr, theme "New Routes to a Better World, Health for All"
  • Houston, USA - website www.expo2020usa.com
  • Minneapolis - St Paul, USA
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil - website www.saopauloexpo2020.com.br, theme "Power of Diversity, Harmony for Growth"
  • Silicon Valley, USA - website www.expo2020siliconvalley.com
  • Yekaterinburg (Ekaterinburg), Russia - website blog at expo2020-ekaterinburg.blogspot.com, theme "Global Minds: Uniting All Humanity in a Single Conversation"
  • Israeli passport holders are not permitted to travel to the UAE (with occasional exceptions). Unknown how this will affect Dubai's bid or whether Israelis would be permitted to obtain UAE visas during the World Expo. Also unknown whether Israel would have or be permitted to have a pavilion at the World Expo if it was held in Dubai. No official comment found. A Financial Times (FT) report on 28 Feb 2013 said that "... the sensitive issue of accessibility for all nationalities had been raised. ... Mr Christensen declined to elaborate, saying the BIE’s feasibility report released in June would clarify these issues. Dubai officials declined to comment on whether Israelis would be allowed to enter the UAE for the event" referring to Steen Christensen, the chair of the BIE inquiry mission to Dubai. There is a similar question mark about Dubai's Olympic Games bid.
World Expo locations before 2020
  • 2015 World Expo - Milan, Italy ("Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life").
  • 2010 World Expo - Shanghai, China ("Better City - Better Life").
  • 1851 - first World Fair (Great Exhibition), held in London, UK.
UAE Pavilions
  • 2012 - the UAE Pavilion opened on Saturday 12 May 2012 at Expo 2012 Yeosu, South Korea (open from 12 May 2012 to 12 August 2012). The exhibition showcases the connections between Emiratis and the ocean, organised by the UAE National Media Council (NMC). The pavilion has 5 areas - 1. exterior facade with greeting and timeline, 2. entrance area with interactive presentations and games, 3. an underwater (pretend) sea-tunnel, 4. theater with mini-feature film, 5. and exit area with an exit.
  • 2011, November - the UAE Pavilion from the Shanghai Expo relocated to Saadiyat Island near the Al Manarat Exhibition Center, open to the public as an exhibition and events venue. Abu Dhabi Art 2011 hosted at the UAE Pavilion 16-19 November 2011.
  • 2010 World Expo Shanghai - the UAE Pavilion was established in the shape of a sand dune. Designed by Foster and Partners.
  • Previous UAE Pavilions at World Expo events in Hanover, Lisbon, Seville, Syracuse.
Last update Wednesday 01-Apr-2015. Page development 1H 2T 3D 4L 5C.
Related pages
Related websites (new window)
  • www.bie-paris.org - BIE World Fairs website.
  • www.expo2020dubai.ae - Dubai World Expo 2020 website.
  • www.expo2012uae.com - new UAE Expo website, highlighting the UAE's exhibition at Expo 2012 Yeosu, South Korea, and the 2020 bid for the World Expo (WAM - 13 May 2012).


Abu Dhabi AUH ABD ADB, Ajman AJM, Al Ain AAN, Dubai DXB, Fujairah FUJ, Ras Al Khaimah RAK, Sharjah SHJ, Umm Al Quwain UAQ

DubaiFAQs UAE information guide. Copyright © 2004-2019 www.dubaifaqs.com, Dubai, UAE - United Arab Emirates | blog | Facebook | Twitter |