The Dubai Expo 2020, before, during and after

  • January 30, 2020

The much-awaited and most anticipated mega event in Dubai is finally happening this year. And with just a few months into event time, the Emirate is all out in preparing everything from the ground up. The Dubai Expo 2020 site itself is 30% into completion with just enough time for the final touches.

Ever since Dubai has won the bid to officially host the World Expo back in 2013, locals, residents, and visitors are awaiting the possibilities this Expo is about to bring for businesses, careers and people’s lives.

In this blog, we want to define what exactly is the Expo? What importance does it bring? And what are the economic impacts to Dubai before, during and after the event?

What is the Expo?

Expo or also commonly called as the “World’s Fair” is a large international event designed to showcase the achievements of participating countries. This global event varies in character and chosen theme and is held in different parts of the world hosting the event. Some of the countries that have hosted the Expo in the past few years are Beijing, China in 2019; Astana, Kazakhstan in 2017; Antalya, Turkey in 2016 and Milan, Italy in 2015.

These exhibitions are held at a specific site for a certain period of time usually running from three to six months, in this case, the Dubai Expo will go live from October 2020 to April 2021.

The purpose? This mega event is not orchestrated for nothing. It is dedicated to finding innovative solutions and foster partnerships with fundamental challenges facing humanity and the entire planet through a journey of engaging and immersive activities.


Before Expo 2020

According to an EY (Ernst & Young) Report, a study focused on the activities and investment done around the Expo site. Relevant activities that felt immense growth are the construction on-site, support in infrastructure and high employment rate in the said sector which cascaded on- and off-site.

The pre-Expo phase includes an average of 27,600 jobs per year in the construction sector alone. Construction has indeed driven the pre-Expo activities in developing the facilities and infrastructure in preparation for the Expo 2020.

Expo organizers also invested in on-site infrastructure providers with the participating countries’ pavilions. While off-site third-party investments have been related by the Road & Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA), Etisalat and Dubai Municipality (DM). Infrastructure investments also include hotels, retail, transportation, and hospitality industry.


During Expo 2020

The Expo is expecting over 25 million visitors, both residents and tourists, which require spending and upkeep of the site. Visitor expenditure will mainly include entry tickets, merchandise, food and beverage purchases on the Expo site. According to the EY Report, around 20% of on-site expenditure will be directed toward SMEs – that is equivalent to AED 505M.

Off-site expenditures will cover spending on airline tickets, booking hotel accommodations, F&B, retail, entertainment and public transport of the visitor’s stay during the Expo in Dubai.

Operational spending will be seen all throughout site maintenance this includes employee and contractor salaries. The off-site spending will also be felt beyond the Expo site maintaining the infrastructure, investing in additional taxi fleets, bus services and so on.

The Expo legacy

Once the Expo event has run its course, this historic event is expected to leave an impact on the Emirate for the next decade onwards. Over 80% of the infrastructure and facilities invested in will remain a landmark and tribute to the city.

The Expo site is projected to transition into “District 2020”, a large mixed-use development creating a business environment that will support key growth industries such as tourism, logistics and transport, real estate and education. The expansion of the Dubai Exhibition Center (DEC) and its operations will remain a key facility in the District.

The Expo site built on a four million square meter environment is planned to be retained to support sustainable economic development and the innovation-driven economy. Confirmed tenants in the Business District are Siemens and Accenture and a mix of corporations and SMEs are expected to follow suit.

The District 2020 legacy has been assessed over a 10-year period which is expected to bring incremental development in the operation of DEC. The impact is likely to be felt in the events organization and business services sector. The Expo legacy is also expected to support an average of 53,800 jobs per year.


2020 looks promising and so is the Dubai Expo. It clearly isn't your ordinary exhibition but an experience. Are you excited yet? Let us know in the comments section below.