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What Is Expo?

Starting the subject of Expo, I’d like to make a flashback to the history to understand the root nature of this gala event. Expo (from French word exposition – exhibition in English) is the national exhibition hosted by different countries to showcase different achievements and progress of nations.

The first, currently known Expo, was originated by France in 1844, hosting exhibitions where participants of around 4,000 exhibitors were showing its progressive equipment, tools, machinery, inventions, and so on. It was a series of exhibitions initially hosted only in France, then the tradition was taken by the UK and other countries. The idea always remained to demonstrate achievements and progress in machinery, culture, engineering, and design of different nations and countries.

The main spirit of Expo even that time was building attractions and pavilions mainly temporary and sometimes permanent, like Eiffel Tower. Eiffel Tower was build during one of the Expos in 1889 to demonstrate the engineering power of the French nations.

What Are Types Of Expo?

Currently, there three categories of Expos:

World Expo – exhibitions showcasing achievements and progress. Happens every 5 years.

Specialized Expo – exhibition events focus on particular global challenges faced by humanity. Happens every 2-3 years. Specialized Expo must be in between of World Expos.

Historical Expo – exhibitions organized by host mainly focusing on such thematic subjects as healthy lifestyle, green economies, sustainable living, education, and innovation. Happens between two World Expos with a gap of at least two years, or ten years to be hosted in the same country.

What Are Recent Expos?

Latest World Expos:

2020 – Dubai, United Arab Emirates. “Connecting Minds. Creating Feature.”

2015 – Italy, Milan. “Feeding the Planet. Energy of Life.”

2010 – Shanghai, China. “Better City. Better Life.”

2005 – Aichi, Japan. “Natur’s Wisdom.”

2000 – Hanover, Germany. “Humankind – Nature – Technology.”

Latest Specialized Expos:

2017 – Astana, Kazakhstan. “Future Energy.”

2012 – Yeosu, Korea. “The Living Ocean and Coast.”

2008 – Zaragoza. Spain. “Water and Sustainable Development.”

1998 – Lisbon. Portugal. “The Oceans: a Heritage for the Future.”

Latest Historical Expos:

2019 – Bejing, China. “International Horticultural Exhibition.”

2016 – Antalya, Turkey. “Flowers and Children.”

2012 – Floriade, Australia. “Be part of the theatre in nature; get closer to the quality of life.”

2006 – Chiang Mai, Thailand. “Live Green, Live Better.”

2020Dubai, UAE25,000,000+200438 ha
2015Milan, Italy21,500,000139110 ha
2010Shanghai, China73,085,000523523 ha
2005Aichi, Japan22,049,544121173 ha
Table 1. Latest World Expos in numbers. (Source: Bureau International des Expositions www.bie-paris.org.)

What Are Benefits Of Expo?

The main benefits World Expo brings to the country are: 

  • The rise of awareness of a city around the globe;
  • Promote economic growth;
  • Attract investments to the city and the country;
  • Infrastructure development and tourists attraction;
  • Creation of landmarks;
  • Showcasing the city on a global arena demonstrating its capacity and advanced level;

I’d like to look into the past experiences of Milan and Shanghai considering some positive impacts it had on the cities.

Milan Expo 2015:

After the Milan Expo, the labor market increased with additional +295,000 jobs, where unemployment dropped by almost 1-2% in the next year.

The main impact was noticed in the tourism-related segments, increasing the turnover of service-industries, with +4.2% of wholesale and distribution. +2.9% of hotels and catering, +2.1% of transport-related sectors, +1.3% of commercial services.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) increased to 6 billion euros.

Shanghai Expo 2010:

During the Shanghai Expo, firstly the vacancy of residential properties fell sharply by -7%, where five-star hotels had gained an increase of +40% during the Expo. In the segment of serviced apartment vacancy dropped by -11%. Moreover, the rental gains had increased in Shanghai as well.

A lot of companies managing serviced apartments were very positive with the business outcome pointing that up to 80-90% of properties were entirely occupied.

Dubai Expo 2020 And What To Expect?

Dubai Expo is the next and first World Expo ever hosted in the region with the main thematic subject “Connecting Minds. Creating Feature.” Dubai Expo will be hosted from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. 

Anyone can access Expo buying tickets of different categories, sold on official website or authorized resellers. 

Let’s look at expectations and certain facts.

  • The area is approximately 4.38 square kilometers.
  • 25 million expected visitors.
  • 3 sub-themes: Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability.
  • Up to 173 days Expo will celebrate human brilliance and achievements.
  • 70% of visitors expected from abroad.
  • 192 countries confirmed the participation with dedicated pavilions.
  • 150,000 expected visitors a day.
  • 80% of Expo’s pavilions and the environment will be transformed and reused for District 2020 – a world-class integrated community.
  • Up to 30,000 people to be working at Expo every day.
  • AED 122.6 billion to be invested and contributed to the UAE economy.
  • 38,000 suppliers from 151 countries registered to do business on the Expo site.
  • +200 restaurants on the Expo site.
  • 60 Live shows every day.

What Expo 2020 Will Cover?

Expo will be having the following groups of attractions:

  1. A world of flavors – all kinds of restaurants offering different food and beverages.
  2. World-Class Architecture – a showcase of the latest achievements in architecture and design.
  3. Innovative Landscapes – parks full of different trees.
  4. Arts and Culture – demonstration of designs and arts of best talents around the world.
  5. Three Thematic Districts – Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability.
  6. Outdoor Performances – concerts and other performances.

Who Will Enjoy It?

In a simple language, Expo 2020 will be the place to enjoy all-day not limiting yourself to JBR, City Walk, Dubai Mall, or La Mer. It’s the place to explore, enjoy, and get brilliant ideas. I find it extremely useful for entrepreneurs to explore the experiences of civilization in different fields, industries, and aspects. A place where you can taste almost any food on earth, discover new technologies, and understand earth’s necessity. 

If you’re someone looking to enjoy, you can get it. If you’re someone looking to launch a startup, you’ll get the ideas and initial expertise. If you’re someone looking for inspiration or spiritual growth and contribution in nature, you can get it.


All UAE businesses are driven and existing in the economy by the purchase force of the population and tourists. UAE population according to World Bank is around 9.7 million as of 2019, where expatriates take a share of almost 90%. Total tourists coming to the UAE for the last years were around 16 million a year. Considering this point, additional arrival of up to 25,000,000 people visiting Dubai Expo, which will be hosted during 3-6 months, should make a significant impact on the economy, where the key impacted businesses will be Hotels and Serviced Apartments, Restaurants, Real Estate, Transportation and Entertainments, causing an increase of demand which will lead to a better city awareness, higher business turnovers and a slight price increase and higher occupancy of rooms and properties.

With current COVID-19 situation and restrictions in certain countries make it difficult to forecast the actual scale of impact on the economy. But, the positive impact overall on the economy remains undeniable.


  1. Bureau International des Exposition
  2. Euro Hermes
  3. Wharton University of Pennsylvania
  4. Dubai Expo 2020
  5. World Bank
  6. Statista

By Akhmed Idigov

Interesting Article by Akhmed Idigov about two main payment modes popular in Dubai 2020