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International Focus: Dubai Preparing for the World’s Fair Stage

by Cynthya Porter

With the 2020 world’s fair on its horizon, Dubai is seeing a surge of construction, both to its venues and its destination marketing infrastructure, in anticipation of the potential to turn throngs of world’s fair attendees into future business visitors.

Central in that effort is the creation of the Dubai Exhibition Center (DEC), a facility that will span nearly half a million square feet and serve as the hub of Dubai’s world’s fair identity, dubbed Expo 2020 Dubai. The center is spread across two campuses and includes a theater, an auditorium, several multi-purpose halls and two dozen meeting rooms.

Intl-Focus-Dubai-According to officials, the venue is intended to become a cornerstone of business and tourism in the region, and it aligns with the goals of the United Arab Emirates Vision 2021, which seeks to foster a diversified and sustainable economy to mark the country’s Golden Jubilee celebration.

For six months beginning in October 2020, the facility will exclusively serve Expo 2020 Dubai, but when the fair is finished, leaders say the campus will become a cornerstone of the business economy they expect to see boom in Dubai in the near future. “By any standard, the Dubai Exhibition Center will be a cutting-edge venue that will play a pivotal role during Expo 2020,” says Ahmed Al Khatib, chief delivery officer for Expo 2020. “But the impact of such a unique space will stretch well beyond the six months of the Expo, boosting the region’s meetings and events industry, furthering the UAE’s reputation as a destination for major conferences, and fueling growth in Dubai’s knowledge-based economy for many years to come.”

Dubai Exhibition Center officials have released a preview video of the venue in advance of its opening on October 20, 2020, the date that the world’s fair opens. Though the building is still under construction, they’re offering an animated fly-through of the space to offer a glimpse of the state-of-the-art design and technology it will contain.

Representatives from Dubai Business Events, the convention and visitor arm of the city, attended IMEX Frankfurt in May to promote the venue, Expo 2020 Dubai, and the unique offerings of Dubai to the 14,000 meetings, incentive travel and events professionals on hand. Their aim is to position the city among the world’s leading business event hosts.

“Having started the year on a strong note, our participation in IMEX, along with our partners and stakeholders, is a testament to our ambitions to continue to position Dubai as a premier business events destination,” says Al Khatib. “At this year’s event, our focus is on furthering partnerships with stakeholders as well as engaging with business events professionals globally, to identify new opportunities for the city. We look forward to showcasing our latest offerings as well as contributing to the larger discourse on the theme of ‘imagination’ which will surely fuel a new level of collaboration and inclusion in the business events industry.”

Shaun Vorster, vice president, strategy and business integration–programming at Expo 2020 Dubai, adds, “There will be no place on the planet offering more exceptional business networking opportunities than Expo 2020 Dubai, and the DEC will be right at its heart.” According to Vorster, some of the 190 countries participating in the upcoming expo have already expressed interest in returning to Dubai for a variety of business functions.

Cynthya Porter is a 70-time award-winning journalist recognized by national and international associations for her journalistic expertise in tradeshow topics, travel writing, photography, and news. She has covered the exhibition industry for seven years and, though she makes her home in the Midwest, travels the world in search of interesting stories and photographs.

This story originally appeared in the July/August issue of Exhibit City News, p. 55. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecnflipbook_julyaugust_2019_web

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