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Events: Expo 2020 in Dubai Essay

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Updated: Mar 16th, 2020

Definition of Expo with a focus on a previous event

World fairs are large public exhibitions that bring together participants from all over the world. Expos take place in different parts of the world as it has been decided by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). The events are decided and approved by the BIE, which is the international sanctioning body for global fairs.

Expos are usually characterized by the demonstration of various forms of cultural arts and products from different parts of the world. These exhibitions are viewed as significant opportunities through which people of different national identities can promote their homelands and cultures.

Even though these events have been conducted in the world since ancient times, the modern chain of expos started way back in the nineteenth century. The first modern World Expo was inspired by Prince Albert, and it took place in London.

Generally, there are two types of expos, namely registered expos and recognized expos. Registered expos involve major aspects of the world and are the most expensive types of exhibitions. These types of exhibitions are conducted within five years and would go on for about half a year. Registered expos comprise of universal themes that tend to have a significant impact on humans.

On the other hand, recognized expos will tend to have a less impact, and would go on for a period not exceeding three months. These types of expos would encompass a common theme. Examples of aspects that can unite recognized expos are things such as ‘communication in the modern world’ and ‘the magic of technology,’ among other things.

Expos are mainly intended for various purposes, which include an exhibition of upcoming innovations, promotion of cultural exchange based on specific aspects or themes, and the enhancement of nation-branding. The approval and management of each of these types of expos remain the responsibility of the Bureau International des Expositions, which is situated in Paris, France.

Expos can bring a lot of benefits to host countries and other nations who choose to take part in the exhibitions (Dyreson, 2010).

The benefits of Expos to host countries include, but are not limited to, higher international profile, economic boost, encouragement of education and cultural exchange, the urban development of host cities and neighboring towns, enhancement of good international relations, and first-hand experimentation with modern and future technological aspects.

More importantly, world fairs also serve as powerful tools of cultural diplomacy. The Great Exhibition, held in the United Kingdom in 1851 is one of those memorable expos whose successes have brought great benefits to the world.

The exhibition went down in history as the best-recognized first World Expo. The most important thing about this particular event is that it was the first world fair of manufactured products that would bring significant influence in the development of various aspects of society.

Moreover, this event paved the way for modern-day exhibitions that have continued to bring a lot of benefits to the world. Ever since the Great Exhibition, three significant eras of exposition have been realized. These eras include a period of industrial development, a period of country branding, and a period where people were exposed to different cultural aspects.

Possible reasons as to why Dubai was chosen to host Expo 2020

As an established global market, Dubai has all it takes to host this important global event. Urban development is a key aspect to consider when it comes to World Expo host selection, and the UAE city had proved to be a true success story as far as this factor is concerned.

Hosting this kind of exhibition would mean much more than infrastructures and other features of urbanization. A country’s economic status and international profile are other factors which the BIE will take into consideration when selecting hosts for Expos.

Being one of the fastest growing international market centers today, Dubai enjoys a strong economy and a wide global recognition due to its splendid business affairs connecting many countries in the world. The region has a well-established reputation of a strong financial and monetary stability in the UAE, and this makes it a suitable base for Expo 2020.

More importantly, the UAE city has, over the years emerged as a leading business hub characterized by modern infrastructure and state-of-the-art technological aspects that would provide investors with a world-class business environment. Dubai’s technological achievements coincide with its bid theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the future’ and this must be one of the reasons why it was considered a suitable host for Expo 2020.

Sao Paulo, Yekaterinburg, and Azmir are all dynamic cities that have the potential to host the global event in 2020. However, Dubai had proved to have what it takes to successfully hold a unique expo that will bring great value on the World’s fair series of events. This, however, is another reason why the emirate was chosen to host the event in 2020. Technology is a key aspect that touches every segment of modern society.

With its engaging theme that would be based on technological aspects, Dubai must have made a stronger impact on the BIE than any other country that had placed a bid to host Expo 2020. The fact that the World Expo has never been held in any other region apart from the West had also increased Dubai’s opportunities for hosting the event (Ahamed & Cooper, 2014).

More importantly, Dubai is a low-crime region that enjoys strong political stability, which may be crucial in providing the most governmental and financial support needed for the Expo.

Political unrests in Russia and Turkey could be the possible reasons as to why Yekaterinburg and Izmir had lost the opportunity to host the event. Moreover, for reasons better known to the sanctioning body, Sao Paulo was viewed as least likely to succeed in getting the ticket to host the event.

Potential benefits of Expo 2020 to Dubai and the negative outcomes that are likely to occur

Hosting Expo 2020 is likely to help Dubai in many ways. Expos have proved to be pivotal in the development of the host countries through economic, cultural, and educational aspects (Weber & Ali-Knight, 2012). In this regard, there is no doubt that Dubai will have the potential of getting real transformations as far as the above aspects are concerned.


The 2020 trade exhibition in the UAE is projected to attract participants from allover the world, with over 25 million people expected to take part in the six-month event. However, these are just projections, but the numbers could increase to 100 million by the time the exhibition kicks off.

This will have a significant impact on the trade department, tourism sector, and the country’s infrastructure, which is likely to receive great developments before, during, and after the event. Increased employment opportunities will also be realized as massive construction projects are launched in Dubai in preparation for the Expo.

Trade opportunities in the region are also likely to get a boost as local tourism diversifies, causing significant growth in restaurants and hotels, travel agencies, and car rental agencies, among other businesses. All these activities will significantly help to boost the country’s economy in the long run.


Dubai is a multi-cultural community with expatriates forming the largest percentage of its population (Kanna, 2010). Expo 2020 is likely to attract visitors from allover the world, thus meeting the tenets of the emirate’s bid whose main agenda will be to connect minds while creating the future.

This will help to promote cultural diplomacy among the many visitors who will be representing different countries at the event. More importantly, the exhibition will play a key role in enhancing Dubai’s image at home and abroad.


World fairs are significant events that provide more and more learning options to people. The expos provide a variety of new ways of offering educative information to the participants.

The diverse activities and products showcased usually give visitors the opportunity to explore the ideas, aspirations, and hopes of other people from different parts of the world. More importantly, the events give the participants an opportunity to understand the outside world of their daily routines through new cultures, inventions, and scientific developments.

Possible negative outcomes

All the plans regarding Expo 2020 are expected to fall in place for Dubai and the UAE. However, there are various potential downsides that can occur. Even though past Expos have contributed greatly in transforming the world, not all exhibitions had turned out as memorable successes. There have been some occasions where Expos have failed to achieve the intended objectives resulting in negative outcomes, possibly as a result of unexpected factors.

An example of a possible negative outcome is when relatively low numbers of visitors turn up for an Expo, despite it having been projected that high numbers will attend the event.

Such a case was witnessed at Expo 2000 held at Hanover, where a much less number of visitors showed up for the event after it had been projected that about 40 million participants were likely to attend the exhibition. This can also happen to Dubai, which has already conceived very high hopes for Expo 2020, thus leading to serious financial deficits.

There is also a possibility of investing so much in the event and reaping very little out of it. In this regard, Dubai should be more careful on its plans ahead of the big event to avoid such disappointments. The other possible negative outcome is that Dubai can fail to learn from past experiences, thus ending up repeating the same mistakes committed by some of the countries that have hosted the events previously.

For example, the 2010 World Expo in China had cost a great deal of money, only for some of the structures used for the exhibition to be regarded useless afterward, leading to massive wastage of resources (Lamberti, Noci, Guo, & Zhu, 2011). To avoid such fate, Dubai should think of using eco-friendly building materials that can be easily disassembled at the end of the event.

What will appeal to the US in Expo 2020 in terms of Business culture

The USA may be a major economic power house with a longstanding reputation of business innovation and success. Among other factors, this excellence has been enhanced by the rich multi-cultural nature of the country. However, even though the USA is a country known for its multiculturalism, its cultural taste is not as diverse as that of the UAE. It is estimated that more than 150 nationalities live and work in the UAE, particularly in Dubai.

Dubai is a region possessing a rich blend of cultures, and this is likely to improve greatly following Expo 2020, which is expected to take place in the region (Salama, 2013). This will bring immense trade and cultural benefits to the participating countries in many ways.

These benefits will be appealing to a country such as the US, which stands out as a major player in the global market arena. American organizations and citizens will have to attend the 2020 Expo in Dubai to gain more knowledge of modern commercial ideas and aspirations that are likely to arise from the exhibition.

As a country focused on being at the forefront in matters regarding business innovation and development, the USA cannot afford to skip this significant event. More importantly, Expo 2020 will feature important technological aspects and innovations, and as a country focused in embracing the ability of globalization and technology to transform the world, the US should have a better reason to be among the many countries taking part in the event.

Apart from the above benefits that could be realized from Expo 2020, American organizations and citizens can also gain a lot from Dubai as a leading economic hub in the world.

There is a lot behind the success of this vast emerging global market in the UAE that the US can use to strengthen its trade capabilities. In this regard, the USA should see Expo 2020 as an opportunity to learn new business skills and tricks that would be crucial in shaping its dwindling economy.

Possible innovation in Expo 2020

Expos are known for their ability to inspire new technological inventions and developments, thus helping to improve human life in vast ways. Expo 2020 will be a wonderful opportunity for Dubai and the other UAE countries to showcase their best technological inventions and developments to the world. The event will connect experts in various disciplines from different parts of the world.

Many surprising things that are not available today will be possible in this platform, where experts will come together to showcase their creativity and share their knowledge about various aspects of society. One of the possible innovations of Expo 2020 is a machine that can be used to read people’s minds from a distance and determine their thought and intentions.

Unlike the mind-reading machines used to translate brain signals into text, which are usually placed on the head, this innovation will operate independently from a concealed point. The gadgets will operate like CCTV cameras and will be used for security purposes.

The devices will be capable of tracing and identifying criminals before they can execute their sinful acts. This way, the technology will help to curb the rising insecurity and acts of terrorism in modern society. This innovation will be among the exclusive exhibitions in the Expo 2020, thus being appealing to all the visitors.


Ahamed, F., & Cooper, M. (2014). World Expo 2020: Heralding Dubai’s Super-Growth– A Road Ahead. Applied Hospitality and Tourism Research, 52(12), 38-43.

Dyreson, M. (2010). Epilogue: Showcases for Global Aspirations: Meditations on the Histories of Olympic Games and World’s Fairs. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 27(16-18), 303-309.

Kanna, A. (2010). Flexible Citizenship in Dubai: Neoliberal Subjectivity in the Emerging “City‐Corporation”. Cultural Anthropology, 25(1), 100-129.

Lamberti, L., Noci, G., Guo, J., & Zhu, S. (2011). Mega-events as drivers of community participation in developing countries: The case of Shanghai World Expo. Tourism Management, 32(6), 147-154.

Salama, H. (2013). Dubai in a World of Flows. ArchNet-IJAR, 7(2), 76-82.

Weber, K., & Ali-Knight, J. (2012). Events and festivals in Asia and the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region: Opportunities and challenges. International Journal of Event and Festival Management, 3(1), 4-8.

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