Expo 2020 Dubai: 76% of local companies say event boosted business growth

Majority of businesses entered into new partnerships during the six-month trade fair that ended in March, new survey finds

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Expo 2020 Dubai, which concluded last week, helped more than 76 per cent of companies in the emirate to boost growth during its six-month run, a survey by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce has found.

While 73.5 per cent of businesses entered into new partnerships during the mega trade fair, nearly 71 per cent of respondents leveraged the networking and business matching services provided by the Chamber during the event, the report said.

The study, carried out in collaboration with Oxford Business Group, surveyed 287,000 companies in Dubai operating in various economic sectors.

The success of the event will cement Dubai’s position as a global business and innovation hub
Hamad Buamim, president and chief executive of Dubai Chambers

“Our efforts in supporting the mega-event have helped to strengthen Dubai’s reputation as a place to do business,” said Hamad Buamim, president and chief executive of Dubai Chamber of Commerce.

“The success of the event will cement Dubai’s position as a global business and innovation hub.”

Expo 2020 Dubai recorded more than 24 million visits in its six months after a surge in the number of guests to the world fair in the final weeks.

Figures released by Expo 2020 on Saturday revealed that one in every three visitors was from overseas, with people coming from 178 countries.

The most popular country for international visitors was India, followed by Germany, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Russia, France and the US.

Expo 2020 Dubai supported business growth in the tourism and hospitality sectors in the emirate, said the Chamber report.

Revenue per available room (RevPAR) in Dubai increased 56.3 per cent to Dh460 ($125) in January 2022 compared with Dh293 in January 2021 and outperformed Milan, the host city for Expo 2015, which recorded RevPAR growth of 54.5 per cent in 2015, the report found.

The number of hotels and hotel establishments in January 2022 grew to 759, compared with 711 in January 2021. Guest nights in January this year stood at 3.04 million, up from 2.65 million in the same period last year, while overnight visitor numbers during the period more than doubled annually to 979,700.

Arrivals at Dubai International Airport rose 12.7 per cent annually in 2021, while the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade jumped 27 per cent over 2020 and 11 per cent over 2019, a growth trend largely driven by Expo 2020 Dubai, the report revealed.

"Expo 2020 Dubai has also played a crucial role in attracting property investors, allowing visitors to explore projects and offerings," the report said.

The Chamber organised 98 events during the world's fair, which were attended by more than 25,000 participants from 130 countries.

It also enabled 1,500 bilateral business meetings between UAE investors and their global counterparts, and received 1,746 visiting delegations from more than 60 countries during the event.

In addition, the Chamber also signed 13 preliminary agreements with public and private sector stakeholders representing other markets to provide its members access to new growth opportunities.

Up to 47 per cent of respondents found value in the bilateral business meetings arranged at Expo 2020 Dubai, according to the report.

Expo 2020 Dubai is a “stepping stone to a resilient future shaped by innovation, international co-operation and a more competitive and diversified economy” supported by small and medium enterprises, Mr Buamim said.

Sectors such as tourism, trade, transport, travel and financial services, as well as the digital economy will be the key engines of future growth.

Dubai’s investments in innovation and technology will drive sustainable economic growth long after Expo 2020 Dubai, he added.

Updated: April 03, 2022, 11:12 AM