Opinion

World Expo a go-go?

There’s a lot riding on Dubai’s bid to win the right to host the World Expo in 2020, and I don’t mean the seven members of Dubai Riders, the city’s oldest motorcycle club, who are biking across Europe as I type.

Personally I wouldn’t choose to ride a Honda from Athens to Hamburg to enhance a bid celebrating a greener more connected future for the Gulf’s hub metropolis. I will presume the bikes are being recycled into a compost silo.

Coming out of summer, there’s a real feeling in the industry that should Dubai beat Izmir, Sao Paulo and Yekaterinburg then the floodgates will open for a devopment boom, not seen since, well, the last one. Certainly there are a lot of people willing to tell me they’ve heard non-too-quiet whispers that the momentum within the judging circle is with the city. The New York Times covered the build-up to the decision last month and described Dubai as the “frontrunner in the race”.

Considering the competition contains one city that has already seen rioting relating to spending on the World Cup and two others which are embroiled in “political tensions” – saying Dubai is the outstanding candidate is like having a Harlem Globetrotter apply for a job fixing light bulbs.

Dubai, which has frequently drawn comparisons with Las Vegas, maybe banking on itself but it is playing a high stakes game. The expected 25 million visitors, 270,000 jobs and related projects are a tantilising prospect – but the city of New Orleans went bankrupt hosting the event and Shanghai allegedly spent $50 billion on its expo, so economic viability should at least be considered.

However I would like to see what Dubai would come up with in terms of its own Eiffel Tower. Although by 2020 we’ll already have one of those in Falcon City, won’t we?

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