The coronavirus is wreaking havoc on plans for major gatherings/Bloombergby Bloomberg
Expo 2020 Dubai, which is set to open in late October, remains “on track” in the face of the current coronavirus outbreak, according to the organisers.
The expo’s spokesperson, said, “We are consulting very closely with local authorities and the International Bureau of Expositions in Paris as the situation evolves, all planning and preparations for Expo 2020 Dubai remain on track.”
The expo is set to attract millions of visitors and showcase Dubai as a global destination. The government said that it expects a boost to growth spurred by stimulus programmes and projects related to the international exhibition fair, which is being held for the first time in the Middle East.
The region’s commercial hub has gone through tough years recently as oil revenue dropped, with property prices down about a third since 2014 and its vital tourism industry struggling to grow. In 2018 the economy expanded only 1.9 per cent, its weakest pace in almost a decade.
The coronavirus is wreaking havoc on plans for major gatherings, particularly across Asia, with top government meetings, a Formula One race, and the Olympics all in limbo.
“We recognise the difficulty that the world is facing, these are indeed unprecedented times. The health and well-being of everyone visiting and working at Expo 2020 Dubai is of paramount importance to us,” added Expo 2020 Dubai spokesperson.
“The number of cases in the UAE is currently low but the authorities remain vigilant by continuously monitoring the situation and taking robust precautionary, preventative measures necessary to contain the rapid spread of the virus,” added the expo spokesperson.
EY projected that Expo 2020 Dubai and its legacy are expected to contribute AED 122.6 billion of gross value added (GVA) to the UAE’s economy from 2013–31.
The economic impact of the expo’s legacy period is expected to be driven by the development activity and operations of District 2020 and the incremental effects of the expansion of the Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC).
In a report, EY stated that SMEs are estimated to receive AED 4.7 billion in investment during the pre-Expo phase, supporting approximately 12,600 jobs, while also supporting Expo 2020’s aim to foster innovation and support small businesses.
Furthermore, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the accountancy and finance body, said that the expansion in non-oil activity is slowly beginning to translate into stronger job creation, although at a modest rate.