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KHALEEJ TIMES, Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 | Jamadi Al Thani 21, 1441

Economy to get a major boost from Expo 2020: Survey

Emirates: More than half of UAE residents feel that the Expo 2020 would boost the country's economy, a survey has revealed.

YouGov's new survey shows that excitement levels are high with a large majority of UAE residents (67 per cent) looking forward to attend the exposition. Among those who are likely to visit the expo, people aged 30 plus are more likely to be present than younger adults in the country. Working professionals are more likely than non-working residents (72 per cent versus 51 per cent) to visit the expo. Even married residents, especially ones with children, are more likely than the single people to attend the event.

Expo 2020, which runs from October 20, 2020 to April 20, 2021, is set to welcome 190 participating countries with an estimated 25 million visitors from across the globe.

According to analysts, the expo is expected to fuel the growth of Dubai economy by four per cent in the next one year as economic activity gains momentum, which will benefit the construction, interior fit-outs, banking, hospitality, aviation, event management and F&B sectors.

With the theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, Expo 2020 is organized around, opportunity, mobility, and sustainability. The expo site in Dubai covers 4.38 square kilometres and is in the Dubai South district, close to Al Maktoum International Airport and within proximity of the Dubai International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport, and Dubai and Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminals.

The YouGov survey revealed that among those who are visiting the event, more than half (52 per cent) are planning to attend the expo at its launch while one in seven (15 per cent) are likely to be present for the closing ceremony. Two in five (40 per cent) will attend specific events. One in ten (10 per cent) will join the celebration only after going through attendee reviews and a similar proportion is unsure of their attendance at this moment.

In the past, World Expos have given us some iconic structures and inventions such as the Eiffel Tower, the Seattle Space Needle, the television and even Heinz Tomato Ketchup. Therefore, it is not surprising to see that most UAE residents (52 per cent) are eager to experience innovation at the expo. Following that, many are excited to witness the spectacle of culture and education (38 per cent each) at the pavilions. A higher number of men than women are interested in exploring innovation at the expo (55 per cent versus 45 per cent) while more women than men are interested in the cultural aspect of the expo (46 per cent versus 34 per cent).

A considerable number of men are looking forward to the sporting events at the expo (35 per cent) while a large number of women are keen to experience architecture (41 per cent) and music (33 per cent) at the event.

Most people are likely to visit the expo on short frequency tickets. Three in ten (29 per cent) prefer the one-day ticket, just over a quarter (26 per cent) are planning to buy the three-day multiple entry ticket and one in five (21 per cent) prefer the monthly pass. Only one in ten (9 per cent) expressed an interest to buy the entire six-month pass.

When it comes to the benefits of the Dubai Expo, more than half (55 per cent) of UAE residents said it will boost the UAE and Dubai's economy. Almost as many feel it will attract prospective investments (51 per cent) and will increase the influx of tourists in the country (50 per cent).

Many even think the Dubai Expo will enhance the UAE's reputation as a business hub (49 per cent) and will lead to the creation of more jobs (48 per cent). For all these areas, women seem more optimistic than men.

Compared to other age groups, people who are 40 plus seem to be confident about the expo and are most likely to say it will deliver all the above mentioned positive outcomes.

Arab expats (47 per cent) are most hopeful that the Dubai Expo will energise the hospitality, real estate and recreation sector.

While the lead up to expo is filled is anticipation and optimism, the survey revealed that there is low awareness around expo's legacy. When asked about District 2020, only 28 per cent knew what it was. 36 per cent did not know about it and another 36 per cent had only heard of it but were not completely sure what it was.

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