Last November, the UAE was elected by the BIE member states to host Expo 2020 in the international business and tourism hub of Dubai. The organizing committee is now at full throttle to prepare for the event. The next step is the submission of the registration dossier to the BIE in about a year, which will officially allow the UAE to build its Expo and invite countries to participate. Helal AL MARRI, Director General of Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre and Member of the Dubai Expo 2020 Preparatory Committee, tells us about the Expo project.
BIE: Dubai won the right to host the 2020 World Expo last November and you are preparing the registration dossier. What steps of the dossier are you currently working on?
Helal Al Marri: Since winning the Expo late last year, we have been working hard on the planning process and organizing our work for the next 6 years. In terms of the registration dossier we are focusing on all issues in parallel as the same teams that worked on the bid have continued through and been strengthened by additional people. The masterplanning has continued, our stakeholder engagement has continued and we are very confident the dossier will be ready for next year.
How would you define the theme "connecting minds, creating the future"?
When I think of the theme, I think of Dubai. Dubai is fuelled by the philosophy of the theme. It is a place that brings the world together to share ideas and to work together on the challenges the future may hold. We all share the same future and we are convinced that it is only through collaboration that we can find new solutions. The subthemes of our Expo are 3 tangible challenges to which we should apply this philosophy: sustainability, mobility, economic development and job opportunity.
What are your plans for the post-expo ?
As we move towards post 2020 and the Expo site enters its new phase of life we will utilize the assets that are built there such as the exhibitions and entertainment facilities, to create a smart city that will become a benchmark for the rest of the world. This smart city will allow the development of the Dubai Trade Center activities and become a key player in the exhibitions and conference business. It will also ensure the right hospitality offering and a new gateway to the new airport of Dubai that will be the largest airport in the world.