Expo 2020 Dubai will signal a ‘huge change’ in the UAE economy, according to Danube Group chairman Rizwan Sajan.
The global event is set to kick off on October 20 and run until April 10 2021. During that time, the UAE is expected to welcome up to 25 million visitors to the region.
Sajan told Arabian Business the investment potential from the additional visitor numbers over that six-month period, was massive.
He said: “I’m very optimistic about Expo. If you are talking about 20 to 25 million people coming to this part of the world and if you look at the track record from the places where Expo has been previously held, Shanghai and Milan, the economies of those particular cities shot up.
"I’m expecting 10 percent of that [25 million] to show interest in investing in the UAE, which is about 2 to 2.5 million people. Out of that, only 10 percent will invest, 10 percent will show interest, but only 10 percent will actually invest. So about one percent of the total number of visitors will actually invest.
“We’re talking about 200 to 250,000 people coming and investing in this part of the world. That’s going to be a huge change in the economy.”
Global consultancy EY’s published a report earlier this year, which said from the time the Expo bid was won in November 2013, right through to a decade after Expo’s doors close, $33.4 billion (AED122.6 billion) will have been contributed to the UAE economy, supporting more than 900,000 full-time equivalent job-years across a wide spectrum of business sectors.
Direct and indirect investment in buildings, infrastructure and other assets will reach more than $10.9bn (AED40bn) over 2013 to 2031. While, during the six months of the World Expo, with the huge swathe of visitors spending money on tickets, merchandise, accommodation, transport and food, Expo 2020 will account for 1.5 percent of GDP.
This EY report also said activity worth $17bn (AED62.2bn) would be sparked in the decade following the event, the lion’s share in the events and business services sector.
Sajan, whose company has just launched the $5 million Danube Hospitality Solutions venture, aimed at catering to the growing hospitality needs of the region, said there was much to look forward to.
“I expect people from all over the world and the UAE is such a lovely place that anybody who comes here halls in love with the place. I’m sure as we enter Expo 2020 we’ll see a big turnaround in numbers,” he said.