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Event horizons

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Since Dubai won the bid for World Expo 2020 in November 2013, the Government of Dubai has set the wheels in motion to prepare the emirate for what is set to be the biggest event staged in the destination’s history.

Earlier this year, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, established a committee to oversee expo preparations, evaluating the suitability and efficiency of the city’s infrastructure, including tourist, medical, transport and business facilities.

The six-month-long World Expo 2020 will be staged at Dubai Trade Centre, Jebel Ali, occupying a 438-hectare site – one of the largest ever set aside for an expo – and boasting amenities designed to “enhance the UAE’s long-term appeal as a premier destination for high-profile events”, according to Dubai Expo 2020 committee member and UAE Minister of State, Reem Al Hashimy.

To date, no finer details as to the facilities and attractions that the expo site will offer have been revealed, but Dubai Convention and Exhibition Bureau (DCEB) Director Steen Jakobsen says an in-depth strategy is already in place to begin promoting the city as a hub for events and to leverage opportunities for business events over the next six years.

“When Dubai was announced as the winning bid for World Expo 2020, it created a lot of awareness of the city as a host for international events,” he says. “The next step is to communicate to meeting and event organisers the facilities that can be offered to them post-expo, because we are now bidding for events past 2020. If the organisers find the facilities suitable, that will generate a lot of interest.”

Jakobsen says key association clients will be brought to Dubai during the expo to showcase everything the destination has to offer, but given long lead-in times for some rotational events, a familiarisation trip programme has been planned for as early as next year.

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Alexandre Hourdequin is the founder of the international entertainment agency Talents & Productions. Considered to be the expert of the event entertainment worldwide.