With Dubai winning the World Expo 2020 bid, the emirate requires approximately USD 43 billion (47 percent of the estimated 2013 GDP) to significantly upgrade its infrastructure according to a research report by Deutsche Bank. This will boost employment, population and tourist growth.
A bulk of this investment will go into expanding the hotel and leisure industry, while around USD 10 billion will be spent to improve transportation infrastructure.
The biggest beneficiary should be the real estate sector, which has to cater to the increased demand for new hotel and infrastructure projects. Deutsche Bank’s report continues to see positive momentum in the Dubai property market, triggered by attractive yields and property prices close to historical average. With Dubai hosting World Expo 2020, the sector should continue to attract strong investor interest.
Dubai property prices are currently up around 50 percent since the 3rd quarter 2011 but still 45 percent below the peak of 2008 and close to the average price of the last 8 years. Compared with other major cities in the world, Dubai offers attractive property prices and rental yields and a low tax environment. Moreover, the Emirate’s “safe-haven” status, strategic location and growing tourism sector continue to attract investor interest.
The Al Maktoum International Airport, the newly developed airport near the Expo site, started passenger operations on 27 October. When fully completed the airport will be able to handle 12 million tons of cargo and 160 million passengers annually, making it the largest international airport by some margin. Besides this, Dubai has also initiated an expansion plan for its existing Dubai International Airport to increase its existing capacity from 60 million to 90 million passengers per year by 2018. Winning the Expo can further facilitate the “Dubai Vision” target of handling 20 million tourist arrivals by 2020.
Increased tourist arrivals and an upbeat business climate are positives for the hotel and leisure industry as well as the retail sector. About 25 million visitors are expected for the World Expo 2020 event, 71percent of which will be non-domestic visitors.
Dubai was voted as the host city to conduct the World Expo 2020 event in the Bureau of International Expositions’ 154th General Assembly held on 27th November. This will be the first World Expo to be hosted in the MENASA region. Dubai was able to outbid the competition from Sao Paulo (Brazil), Ekaterinburg (Russia) and Izmir (Turkey) with its theme of “Connecting minds, Creating the Future”. The Expo Live support package of €150m for developing countries to aid their participation and the €100m Partnership Fund to spur innovations, ideas and entrepreneurship on sustainable development projects helped sway the votes in Dubai’s favor.
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