DUBAI PLANS EXPO LEGACY

Expo 2020 Dubai is set to lay the foundations for diversified and sustainable tourism through a series of initiatives designed to support the UAE’s plans for diversification to a knowledge-based economy.

The strategy was revealed during Expo 2020 Dubai: The Legacy, the first session to take place on the Arabian Travel Market Global Stage, on 24 April at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The panel was chaired by UAE broadcaster and journalist, Richard Dean, and featured Marjan Faraidooni, SVP, Legacy Developments & Impact, Expo 2020 Dubai; Anita Mehra, SVP Communications & Reputation Dubai Airport; Issam Kazim, CEO, DTCM; and Deirdre Wells OBE, CEO, UKinbound, to the first high-level debate of Arabian Travel Market 2017.

Marjan Faraidooni, said: “We planned the Expo with two missions in mind. The first is to make sure the visitor has an unforgettable experience from the second they step foot in Dubai until they leave.

“The second mission is the legacy question, Expo 2020 is being built with legacy in mind and all assets will remain after the event including the buildings and transport infrastructure.”

Last year, Expo 2020 Dubai awarded over 1,200 contracts, worth US$544.5 million and a further 47 construction contracts worth $3 billion are due to be awarded in 2017.

Plans for the site after Expo 2020 concludes will see 80% of the plot re-developed with all Expo’s assets and transport infrastructure re-purposed for future use by a range of tenants and major private sector firms.

Indeed, Siemens AG became the first firm to announce plans earlier this year, when it confirmed its global headquarters for airports, cargo and ports logistics, will be based out of the Expo2020 site from 2021.

Sharing lessons from the London 2012 Olympics, which saw an additional two million tourists arrive in the British capital for the games, Deirdre Wells OBE, CEO, UKinbound, advised the Expo 2020 committee to also focus on post-event destination marketing.

She said: “London is an established market, welcoming an average of 30 million visitors a year. We knew the 2012 Olympics would attract significant additional arrivals so the critical part of the planning was focused on legacy, with tourism a key component.

The Olympics is a major sports and broadcast event, so in terms of investment and planning around 60% of our £30 million budget over four years was dedicated to post-event activities.”

Commenting on the overall session, Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, said: “The seminar also explored the importance of Dubai’s sustainable tourism initiatives, the expansion of the emirate’s airports’ capacity and the engagement of global audiences through partnerships with celebrities and social media influencers.”

Dubai’s plans to engage a wider spectrum of visitors beyond 2020, places heavy focus on social media interaction and User Generated Content, which has transformed how tourists plan, book and enjoy itineraries.

Detailing how Dubai works with celebrity and non-celebrity influencers and visitors Issam Kazim, CEO, DTCM, explained: “Many travel decisions are influenced by what people see on social media and their desire to re-create and share their own versions of the celebrity and influencer content. We work with influencers on social media to help them create shareable content that will help promote the many things happening in Dubai.

“Social media is also key to understanding that we market the right elements from Dubai to the right markets at the right time, to continue to drive visitor numbers. Most people are unaware of the depth of the cultural and historical attractions in Dubai and few understand there are 200 nationalities who have chosen to make Dubai their home. Leveraging social media, their posts help tell the world that story.”

Commenting on how Expo 2020 will enhance the airport experience, Anita Mehra, SVP Communications & Reputation Dubai Airport, added: “We have already begun working with the Expo team to ensure we have the technology, innovation and customer service levels to create a world-class airport experience. We all work to create and strengthen Dubai Inc and it is this that will secure the legacy of Expo 2020.”

Faraidooni concluded: “The first Expo in London had one of the most enduring legacies and we will celebrate this in many ways during Expo 2020, including a 24-hour celebration of New Years’ Eve on December 31, 2020, uniting the 200 nationalities who call Dubai home and the 25 million people we will welcome to Dubai that year.

“The legacy that we will leave behind is bringing Expo to a truly global audience, to inspire visitors to return to Dubai time and time again.”

Photo – top of page: (from left) Anita Mehra, SVP Communications & Reputation Dubai Airports; Issam Kazim, CEO, DTCM; Deirdre Wells OBE, CEO, UKinbound; and Marjan Faraidooni, SVP, Legacy Developments & Impact, Expo 2020 Dubai