Grace Najjar, Managing Director, Middle East and North Africa at Project Management Institute has written a thought leadership article for tahawultech.com which examines the impact and legacy created by EXPO 2020.
Taking place every five years, the World Expo is one of the oldest and largest global events. The event made history when it chose Dubai, UAE as its host for the year 2020. This was the first time the World Expo was held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region and hosted by an Arab nation. This was an incredible honor for the UAE, which proudly shared its open and inclusive vision for the world.
PMI has recently included Expo 2020 Dubai on the 22nd position in their list of Most Influential Projects in their latest 2022 Jobs Report. A first of its kind event that celebrated the power of human collaboration and the triumph of innovation, to emphasize its three core themes: opportunity, mobility, and sustainability.
On the 1st of October 2021 Expo 2020 Dubai opened its door to the world under the theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” and put on a brilliant show till the 31st of March 2022. During this period of over six months, it hosted 192 countries, welcomed over 24 million visitors, and served as a spectacular exhibition of unique ideas and resources. With the world’s largest 360-degree projection screen built in the shape of a dome, 3D-printed food to robots extending assistance and breath-taking light shows, Expo 2020 Dubai represented itself as the epitome of a technology-led future.
The Expo 2020 was a feat in project management with jaw-dropping innovations and Technologies. From the world’s largest 360-degree projection screen, 150 robots helping or delivering food, to experiencing what it feels like to travel at high speed on a hyperloop. One of the biggest wonders of Expo 2020 is the gravity-defying waterfall. The 14-metre-high walls of the spectacular ‘Surreal’ waterfall that combines water, light and fire show reverses at night, producing a gravity-defying spectacle.
The latest in technology were not the only focus at the event, Expo 2020 also heavily focused on bringing attention to sustainability. Everything from recycling to promoting natural solutions, Expo 2020 was built keeping in mind the Dubai Plan 2021, UAE Vision 2021 and the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Dubai heavily relies on tourism and foreign investment for the stability of its economy. The pandemic witnessed the city go through one of its worst slumps since the 2008 global crisis.
So, other than serving as a common ground that brought the best of world innovation and ambition together, the Expo 2020 Dubai also presented economic opportunities and alliances for the UAE. The country’s outstanding management of Covid-19 allowed for 30 percent of the total Expo visitor numbers to be from overseas.
According to the STR report, the last month of the exhibition witnessed UAE hotel occupancy rate shoot up to 85 percent, the highest in the world. This was 30% higher than the global rate of 50.8 percent. This allowed for the speedy recovery of the UAE’s tourism, aviation, and hospitality sectors.
More than 80 per cent of Expo 2020’s build infrastructure will be repurposed into an integrated mixed-use community for people to work, live and explore. This neighborhood will be called District 2020 and will prioritize sustainability and people. Among the amenities at the district are a dedicated Dubai Metro stop, three 132 KV substations, and solar panels.
Months have passed since the Expo ended, yet visitors and residents cannot stop talking about the marvel that it was. The Expo 2020 Dubai has built a proud legacy for the UAE and the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia region and set a new benchmark for World Expos. It showed the world the UAE’s exemplary handling of the pandemic, whilst showcasing Dubai as a destination of choice for hosting grand global events.