Dubai public 'positive' about Expo 2020 survey says

Overall impact will benefit economy, environment and culture, residents believe, but 'more information needed'

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Dubai residents believe that hosting Expo 2020 will deliver an economic boost for the UAE, a new survey has shown.

The study revealed most people were generally positive about playing host to next year’s six-month event, which is set to attract about 25 million visitors.

“Expo 2020 is considered to be a mega event due to its size, duration and impacts,” said Dr Amitabh Upadhya, a professor at Skyline University College and one of the paper’s co-authors.

“Such events definitely require full support from the residents who are expected to participate at various stages of the event during its preparatory, as well as conduct and post conduct phases.

“The results of the study indicate that in general the residents of Dubai carry positive perceptions towards the possible impacts of the event on their lives, leading to a positive inclination towards participating in the event.

“The residents believe that Expo 2020 will have positive impact on the economy, society and culture.”

Academics from Skyline University College in Sharjah analysed 253 responses to a questionnaire about Expo coming to the Emirates.

They published their findings in the peer-reviewed journal Sustainability this month, with respondents asked to what degree they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements.

Researchers found seven in 10 people believed Expo 2020 would be good for tourism, while 60 per cent thought it would attract more investment.

Overall, 55 per cent said they believed it would have “more positive impacts to the economy than negative impacts".

A majority, 51 per cent, also agreed it would bring more positive impacts to society and culture than negative effects.

Separately, and despite conservation being one of the major themes of the event, fewer than a third of those surveyed, 29 per cent, expected Expo to generate money for conservation and preservation projects.

Meanwhile nearly two thirds – 64 per cent – indicated a willingness to participate through volunteering.

The statistic is likely to be welcomed by organisers who hope 30,000 people will give up their time to help stage the event.

An artist's impression of Expo 2020, one of the world's largest global gatherings, which will begin in Dubai next October. 

Significantly, however, just a quarter of respondents agreed with the statement, “I know details about Dubai world Expo 2020”.

“Although the event has been perceived as a matter of pride for the respondents and they seem to be quite excited to participate and promote the event, they were not fully aware about the details,” said Dr Mohit Vij, another of the authors.

“The organisers for Dubai Expo 2020 have so far done an excellent job for winning the bid and laying out an appealing and much desired theme for the event."

Expo 2020 Dubai is set to begin in October next year and will run for 173 days.

About 190 countries are due to take part, with 17.5 million of the anticipated visitors expected to come from outside the UAE.

The total value of construction projects related to the event was reported to have reached Dh156 billion by the end of March last year.