Expo 2020 to add Dhs122.6bn to UAE's economy, support thousands of jobs
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Expo 2020 to add Dhs122.6bn to UAE’s economy, support thousands of jobs

Expo 2020 to add Dhs122.6bn to UAE’s economy, support thousands of jobs

The six-month long event is expected to support approximately 49,700 jobs per annum between 2013-2031


Expo 2020 Dubai and its legacy are expected to contribute Dhs122.6bn of gross value added (GVA) to the UAE’s economy from 2013–2031, according to a new report by consultancy EY.

The six-month long event is also expected to support up to 905,200 full-time equivalent (FTE) job-years – which is equal to approximately 49,700 FTE jobs per annum between 2013-2031.

The report, The economic impact of Expo 2020 Dubai considered ‘direct’ increases in economic activity, ‘indirect’ benefits of increased supply chain demand and ‘induced’ benefits from increased spending by employees of firms involved in Expo 2020.

Expo 2020 Dubai is expected to attract 25 million visits and participants from 190 countries from October 2020 to April 2021.

During this period, it is expected to contribute approximately 1.5 per cent of the UAE’s annual forecast gross domestic product (GDP), the EY report stated.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are also estimated to receive Dhs4.7bn in investment during the pre-expo phase, supporting approximately 12,600 job-years.

In the legacy period (May 2021 to December 2031), the expo site is expected to be redeveloped to District 2020, which is expected to include tenant companies and an expanded Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC).

Over 80 per cent of the expo-built environment is planned to be retained for District 2020, and eventually expand into a city covering more than four million square metres.

District 2020 will support ‘sustainable economic development’, looking at an innovation-driven economy focussing on industries such as logistics and transport, travel and tourism, construction and real estate and education.

Companies will be focused on technology and innovation, including a mix of corporations and SMEs.

The DEC is also expected to be a key facility in the site.

“The economic impact of the legacy period is mainly expected to be driven by the development activity and operations of District 2020 and the incremental effects of the expansion of the DEC,” the report stated.

KEY FINDINGS: EY report ‘The economic impact of Expo 2020 Dubai’

Nov 2013-Dec 2031
CONTRIBUTION TO GDP: Dhs122.6bn ($33.4bn)

Top three impacted sectors:

·       Events organisation and business services: Dhs68.9bn

·       Construction: Dhs27bn

·       Restaurants and hotels: Dhs11.4bn




JOB-YEARS: 905,200* (equivalent to an average 49,700 FTE jobs per annum)


Nov 2013-Oct 2020


CONTRIBUTION TO GDP: Dhs37.7 billion ($10.3bn)

Top three impacted sectors:

·       Construction: Dhs25.7bn

·       Events organisation and business services: Dhs7bn

·       Transport, storage and communication: Dhs2.2bn


JOB-YEARS: 262,400 (equivalent to an average 37,500 FTE jobs per annum)


ON-SITE SPENDING IN SME SECTOR: Dhs4.7bn (supporting 12,600 job-years)


Oct 2020-Apr 2021


CONTRIBUTION TO GDP: Dhs22.7bn ($6.2bn)*

*equivalent to 1.5 per cent of UAE annual GDP

Top three impacted sectors:

·       Restaurants and hotels: Dhs8.9bn

·       Events organisation and business services: Dhs7.7bn

·       Transport, storage and communication: Dhs2.6bn


JOB-YEARS: 94,400 (equivalent to an average 94,400 FTE jobs per annum)


May 2021-Dec 2031

CONTRIBUTION TO GDP: Dhs62.2bn ($16.9bn)

Top three impacted sectors:

·       Events organisation and business services: Dhs54.2bn

·       Retail: Dhs2.5bn

·       Restaurants and hotels: Dhs2bn


JOB-YEARS: 548,300 (equivalent to an average 53,800 FTE jobs per annum)

*Note: Total does not sum due to rounding

Contribution to GDP: Gross Value Added (GVA) of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of the economy
Job-years: Defined as full-time employment for one person for one year
Investment: Estimated total Expo-related capital expenditure

Matthew Benson, partner, Transaction Advisory Services, MENA, EY, said: “Expo 2020 is an exciting long-term investment for the UAE, and is expected to have a significant impact on the economy and how jobs are created directly and indirectly.

“As the host, Dubai aims to use the event to further enhance its international profile and reputation.”

Jamie Torrens, director, Economic Advisory, Transaction Advisory Services, EY, added: “Across the period of our study, spanning the pre-expo, during-expo and legacy phases between 2013 and 2031, Expo 2020 is expected to support billions of dirhams of Gross Value Added (GVA) and thousands of jobs in the UAE.

“Although the Expo event lasts less than a year, the positive economic impact continues far beyond the event.”

Expo 2020 Dubai is the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region in the 168-year history of the event.


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