Dubai’s World Expo a win for real estate sector

The recent announcement that Dubai had won the right to host the World Expo 2020 will reflect positively on the city’s real estate sector and has granted the emirate additional credibility.

al-monitor A large billboard of DAMAC Properties promoting Dubai's winning the right to host the 2020 World Expo and showing pictures of United Arab Emirates' Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid (R) and President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is seen in Dubai, Dec. 3, 2013.  Photo by REUTERS/Mohammed Omar.

Topics covered

united arab emirates, uae, real estate sales, real estate, business

Dec 15, 2013

The United Arab Emirates has won the bid to host the World Expo 2020, beating out Russia, Turkey and Brazil. The latter are G20 member states and are highly ranked worldwide based on the size of their economy. They are considered among the world’s emerging economies that are expected to largely contribute to stimulating global economic growth. This triumph reflects the international recognition of the position of the UAE in general, and Dubai in particular, on the world trade, investment and business map. This comes after the country emerged as the heart of the region's economy, a trade hub linking east and west, north and south, a passageway for goods and capitals and a link between international and regional markets in the Middle East and North Africa.

This victory expresses an international recognition of the UAE and Dubai’s potentials and resources and of meeting the requirements that qualify them to make the third most important event in the world — after the World Cup and the Olympic Games —  a success.

The World Expo began in the middle of the 19th century. It is considered a meeting point and a bridge between cultures, peoples and civilizations. The exposition lasts for six months, not for one month as is the case of other world events. During world expos, significant human achievements, innovations and inventions are revealed, and world countries are provided with a chance to display their commercial, industrial, cultural and intellectual products. The exposition has contributed to the advancement of many economies, including that of Britain and France, for example.

The city of Dubai — which in record time has transformed from a quiet port on the Gulf coast into a regional hub for tourism, trade and financial services — has long experience in organizing exhibitions and conferences. Dubai has become a cosmopolitan city and a model for the coexistence of cultures, with significant potential for development and innovation. Its estimated share is 50% of the overall Middle Eastern market. Dubai is home to the tallest building in the world and the longest driverless metro network. It is building a new airport that is supposed to be ranked first in the world, with a capacity of 160 million passengers per year. Dubai attracts nearly 10 million tourists per year, and has important political and commercial ties with European countries and the US, as well as Arab, Asian and African countries.

Dubai was able to win the World Expo 2020 bid just four years after the economic and financial setback that resulted from the collapse of its real estate sector. The setback followed the global financial crisis and years of booming in the sector. Dubai's government-related enterprises have encountered difficulties in paying off their huge debts. In October 2009, global markets shook as Dubai World Group, the state-owned company, announced a freeze on paying its $26 billion debt, before Dubai successfully restructured its debt, following agreements with creditors.

The expectations that Dubai will succeed in hosting the World Expo 2020 have promoted and increased the demand in Dubai’s real estate sector. Moreover, following the Arab Spring uprisings, there was a huge influx of investors, looking for safety, stability and decent life away from political and security problems. The UAE is considered a multicultural society where all categories of people live in a spirit of fellowship and tolerance. It has world-class infrastructure built according to the latest global standards. Its logistics services are highly efficient, and its communication and transportation are advanced, along with modern legislative and regulatory frameworks.

The UAE has adopted an open air, sea and door policy and is in a strategic position that can be reached by a four-hour flight from a third of the world’s countries, and in an eight-hour flight from most the others. Emirates Airlines, classified as the fastest growing airline in the world, recently purchased 150 Boeing and Airbus planes at a price tag of $99 billion, during the Dubai Air Show. For decades, the UAE has sought to be among the most advanced economies in terms of finance, business and trade. It has become the largest re-export market in the world, operates more than nine seaports, and has set a three-year period to become the capital of the Islamic economy.

Winning the right to host the World Expo 2020 has granted Dubai additional credibility. The slogan “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” increased the emphasis in its file on important axes, chief among these are electronic communication, sustainable development, innovation and creativity, which are important in our world that is witnessing a digital revolution. The exposition is expected to welcome in six months more than 25 million people, who will see some of the greatest findings of the human mind with different ethnicities and cultures. Through the exposition, the UAE is undoubtedly seeking to send the world a message that the Middle East is not just a region of war, conflicts and tension.

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