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Jan 29 2014

Expo 2020 'will need AED39.23bn investments'

By K.T. ABDURABB The Dubai Expo 2020 event will require AED39.23 billion of investment to develop all of the required facilities and host the event, according to Helal Saeed Al-Marri, director general at Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

While speaking at the Destination Dubai 2020 conference that opened on Tuesday at Dubai's JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Al-Marri said: "There was a significant opportunity for foreign direct investment (FDI) from the event."

"Significant amount" of the funding will come from the government, but there was also an opportunity for the private sector to invest during the build up to Expo 2020 and during the event itself.

The ongoing Destination Dubai 2020 conference is the first of its kind to detail the very latest developments in Dubai's preparations for Expo 2020.

"Development is expected to pick up pace beginning next year and preparation for the event involved two main areas, development of the actual expo site and the development of the city," he pointed out.

"The expo site requires significant infrastructure and development, and the team is working on designs for this. This will be very project-based," he said.

"The other side is city readiness. The event will require significant development around the city," Al-Marri said. He highlighted that doubling the number of hotel rooms was a key part of preparing the city to handle the 25 million visitors expected to attend the event, 70 percent of whom will come from outside the UAE.

This will include a number of "good quality" three- and four-star hotels.

Another development set to take off next year is Burj 2020, which when completed is expected to be the world's tallest commercial tower, said Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre ( DMCC ).

"We have put out tender to work with consultants, the architect will be announced this year, and construction will start next year (2015). It will be built by 2020," said Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman, DMCC .

The tower is planned as the world tallest commercial tower. It will be a steel structure meaning that it can be built quickly. "That tower is likely to be a steel structure and very efficient," he added.

In addition to conferences and meetings, Dubai has also started to create different departments to speed up the Expo2020 preparations.

On Tuesday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE, in his capacity as ruler of Dubai, announced the establishment of "Dubai Investment Development Agency" as a public institution enjoying legal personality and capacity to be affiliated to the Department of Economic Development.

The new body is tasked with enhancing Dubai's position as a world economic hub for attracting investment, providing appropriate investment environment and instilling confidence in the investment environment in Dubai in addition to the promotion for projects and investment opportunities in the Emirate.

Sources added that this department will have an active role in Expo2020.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum recently issued another law, establishing a new body, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM).

The new corporation is an affiliate of the Dubai government's department of tourism and commerce marketing (DTCM) and will become the entity responsible for the promotion and marketing of Dubai.

The corporation will be responsible for establishing effective partnerships with public and private sector organizations whose work relates to the tourism and commerce sectors.

With responsibility for promoting the Dubai brand, the corporation will establish and operate representative offices in key markets around the world.

"In the lead up to 2020, there is a need for us to continue to develop and enhance our tourism and trade marketing and compete as peers with the world's leading global cities. The creation of the corporation and the focus it will provide to the marketing and promotion of Dubai will enhance coordination of activities and help to amplify our efforts to promote the strengths and diversity of our city globally. This in turn will attract more visitors and businesses and help to expand Dubai s economy," Almarri added.

© Arab News 2014

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