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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 28/11/2013
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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) A well-deserved World Expo 2020 win, a defining milestone in Dubai's dazzling success saga, is to trigger the start of a new era of exponential growth for the UAE and also for the whole GCC region.

Already, Dubai has made its brilliant mark as a leading global hub for tourism, financial and healthcare services, trade, logistics and commercial activities.

Now, with the much sought-after mandate to host the prestigious exposition, Dubai will not only be reinforcing its role-model growth but will also be demonstrating how a world-class event could be inclusive and engaging for rest of the world.

The new opportunity will give added momentum to Dubai's economic and boost growth to average 6.4 per cent per annum over the next three years and potentially 10.5 per cent year on year to 2020, according to experts.

Majid Al Ghurair, CEO of Al-Ghurair Group, said the UAE is a living example of what the combination of ambition, vision and commitment can do to transform a country's economy, quality of life and global standing. Dubai truly embodies the Expo theme of "Connecting Minds - Creating the Future" and we wish the city all the best in staging the World Expo 2020."

AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, CEO of MashreqBank said Dubai's solid infrastructure enabled it to win Expo 2020, thanks to the commitment of the leadership and the people to truly turn this ambition to reality. "This is a great achievement which we are proud of and we have the necessary capabilities to ensure the success of this event. As the first time to take place not only in the GCC but also in the Middle East, this will certainly be beneficial to the entire region. Dubai has the adequate expertise and unique geographical location to once again prove to the world that we are a city that does not know boundaries."

Saleh Al Abdooli, CEO, etisalat UAE, said: "Winning the hosting of Expo 2020 presents so many opportunities. The key opportunities I see lie in the ability to attract millions of visitors to experience first-hand the beauty and culture of our country that our wise leadership has cultivated. It will offer the chance to galvanise our citizens - UAE nationals and expatriates for a common cause, which is to explore the immense potential of the country we all call home. It will give the world the opportunity to see the strong potential of our diversified UAE Economy and encourage future investment opportunities."

Dr Mohammed Al Zarooni, vice-president and chief executive officer of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, said Expo 2020, regardless of its scope and reach, would help showcase the best innovations and achievements of Dubai and the UAE on a world stage. Dubai's free zones have a mandate similar to the Expo 2020 in promoting international trade, creating jobs and augmenting the economy with its varied financial and commercial contributions to the national GDP.

Expo 2020 win marks the "start of a new era in Dubai's evolution" and will be a catalyst for real estate development, according to international real estate consultants Cluttons.

Bruno Daher, Credit Suisse CEO for Middle East and North Africa, said the win would serve to significantly reinforce Dubai's position as a leading financial, trade and commercial hub. "Dubai's regulatory environment and well developed financial infrastructure are already widely viewed as important competitive advantages by international investors."

Steve Morgan, head of Cluttons Middle East, said the successful bid signifies to the rest of the world that Dubai has now cemented its pathway to recovery following the global financial crisis that crippled global real estate markets. It will also go some way to ensuring steady growth to 2020 and beyond and mark the start of a new era in Dubai's evolution, rather than the end of the remarkable growth story we have experienced thus far.

Cluttons said with an expected increase in population in the region by three million by 2020, "we are likely to see the on-going development and growth of the city southward, away from the coast as Dubai's urban boundaries are pushed out further. The fast-tracking of projects designed to complement our city's 2020 vision of hosting 25 million tourists is inevitable and this will involve the resumption of work on some of Dubai's stalled schemes."

Mohammed Alkhas, chief executive officer for Aramex, GCC region, said as a global logistics hub, Dubai will keep on evolving. "There is substantial investment planned in airports, roads, ports and rail as the country looks to increase capacity to cope with rising population trends and maintain foreign direct investment, with currently 180 billion worth of projects planned, according to a report - irrespective of the Expo win," Alkhas pointed out.

Mat Green, head of Research and Consultancy UAE, CBRE Middle East said the Expo 2020 is really testament to the progress that Dubai has made in the last few years. "The economic benefits of hosting the World Expo will not only have lasting effects on the UAE but it also leave a positive impression all across the region."


Khaleej Times

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