How the Dubai 2020 legacy will change your business in the UAE
Now Reading
How the Dubai 2020 legacy will change your business in the UAE

How the Dubai 2020 legacy will change your business in the UAE

Dubai’s expo will have a big impact on the local economy, creating thousands of jobs and boosting the UAE’s GDP for over a decade

Gulf Business

Since the first ever World Expo over 150 years ago, the events have been ‘wowing’ visitors every five years or so by showcasing the latest and greatest feats of human ingenuity.

However, perhaps more important is the longer-term impact they have on the cities which host them.

With Dubai 2020 just around the corner, what can local businesses expect from the event – and its legacy?

World Expos can change the face of the place

It’s not an exaggeration to say that World Expos can alter the destiny of the host city. The iconic Eiffel Tower for example was revealed in the 1889 Paris event, and the structure remains a tourist draw over 100 years later.

An analysis by EY, the consultancy, indicates Dubai’s expo will have a similarly big impact on the local economy, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and boosting the country’s GDP for over a decade.

If you’re running a business in the UAE, how will these general benefits trickle down to your company and its bottom line?

Here are some of the ways you’re likely to benefit.

• Dubai 2020 will encourage foreign direct investment (FDI)

Business representatives, tourists and government officials from some 190 countries around the world will visit the UAE during the six-months that Dubai 2020 takes over the emirate. This will expose literally millions of influential people to the commercial opportunities in Dubai and the rest of the UAE.

With their eyes open to the potential the country has, we can expect a significant boost in FDI in the coming years.

How will this affect your business?

If your company directly receives some form of investment from a foreign business or government, the benefits are obvious. Even if not, the ‘trickle down’ impact of increased FDI is impossible to ignore.

If foreign investors build, say, a new factory, this will help construction companies, employ local workers, stimulate businesses in the local supply chain and mean there are more employees with salaries to spend on products and services.

• Dubai 2020 will boost the emirate’s talent pool

It’s expected that up to 25 million people will visit Dubai during the 6 months of the Expo – and the majority of these will come from abroad. Whether they’re in Dubai for a few days or even a few weeks, the expo will show them the potential the city has to offer.

With modern and high-tech infrastructure, fascinating culture and a buzzing atmosphere, Dubai 2020 will open the eyes of would-be expats to the lifestyle they could have in the emirate.

How will this affect your business?

Dubai 2020 will attract the brightest and the best from a wide range of fields, including IT, engineering, science, sales, marketing and finance.

These people will often be at the top of their game. If even a small proportion of them leaves the UAE impressed and vowing to return, there’s a good chance some of them will choose to live in Dubai in the months and years after the expo – that means your business will have access to some serious incoming talent. Of course, thanks to their connections with their home countries, you might have access to new markets too.

• Dubai 2020 will lead to a big uptick in tourism

With millions of visitors expected, Dubai 2020 itself will have an obvious impact on the tourism industry, not to mention food and entertainment businesses in the emirate. However, most important are the long-term impacts on the tourism sector.

The government’s forecasts expect the travel and tourism sector’s revenues to almost double from about Dhs67bn in 2016 to Dhs116bn by 2027. Dubai 2020 will have a real impact on those numbers thanks to new infrastructure, investments in hotels and shopping, theme parks, museums and Instagram-able monuments like the Dubai Frame.

How will this affect your business?

Once again, with tourist numbers rising constantly, the immediate winners will be hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues and tour businesses.

Don’t forget, however, all those down chain firms too – from logistics companies to suppliers of all manner of products, retail companies, construction businesses and so many more; the growth in tourism will give a boost to profit margins across the UAE.

• Dubai 2020 will improve the emirate’s infrastructure

The government’s 2018 fiscal budget was the largest ever in Dubai’s history – and this year’s budget equals it. What’s more, close to a fifth of this will be spent on infrastructure projects. Some of these major projects include theme parks, major residential complexes, waterfronts and upgrades or extensions to road and rail networks.

How will this affect your business?

New infrastructure is always a boon for businesses of any size – sometimes in obvious ways (better road, sea, air or rail connections facilitate business), other times the benefits are invisible (a new metro means staff can get to and from work quicker, meaning they’re less stressed and more productive).

Many of the emirate’s big infrastructure projects include office space, which should bring down the cost of rental. Of course, if your business is in some way connected to construction, this new budget is especially welcome.

Beyond the fun and the fireworks

There’s no doubt that the six months of Dubai 2020 will give a big boost to the UAE’s economy. However, more important is the long-term effects of the event – and these certainly look good. If you’re already running a business in the UAE, these projections should be something to get excited about.

Geoff Rapp is co-founder and chief innovation officer of Virtuzone


Scroll To Top