Dubai on the cusp of a new development boom

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Dubai on the cusp of a new development boom as World Expo bid victory looms, says MEED

Highlights:

  • The total value to the economy of staging the World Expo 2020 event has been estimated at AED143. 22bn.
  • More than 277,000 jobs would be created between 2013 and 2021 as a result, with about 40 per cent in the travel and tourism sector.
  • For every Expo employee, about 60 additional jobs would be sustained in the wider economy.
dubai expo win
Dubai is on the cusp of yet another development boom as it seeks to strengthen its position as the leading business and tourism hub in the region. Photo- Daniel Cheong
  • Dubai Expo 2020 winning bid to jumpstart wave of new projects, but investors cautious about possible ‘bubble’ scenario 
  • Destination Dubai 2020 highlights latest investment and development opportunities in emirate

Dubai is on the cusp of yet another development boom as it seeks to strengthen its position as the leading business and tourism hub in the region.

Detailing the latest investment and development opportunities in Dubai, MEED has organised Destination Dubai 2020 to dissect, along with local and international experts, the various factors that will shape Dubai’s development trajectory in the next six years.

Among the highlights of the conference presentations and panel discussions include what the impact will be of Dubai winning its World Expo 2020 bid, with leading stakeholders from across Dubai’s key government agencies outlining their future plans in detail for the first time after the securing the rights to host the expo.

The total value to the economy of staging the event has been estimated at AED143. 22bn. More than 277,000 jobs would be created between 2013 and 2021 as a result, with about 40 per cent in the travel and tourism sector. For every Expo employee, about 60 additional jobs would be sustained in the wider economy.

“MEED has organised Destination Dubai to track the exciting new developments happening in Dubai until 2020, a critical case especially in light of its expo bid and just a decade before the governments 2030 vision for the country. We wholeheartedly support Dubai’s Expo 2020 bid and looks forward to working with our friends and partners in Dubai and the UAE to ensure the 2020 Expo will be the best ever,” Ben Greenish, Managing Director, MEED.

Dubai’s bid dossier estimates hosting the expo will cost $8.7bn in total – $7bn in investments and operating expenses of $1.7bn. Capital expenditure will mainly cover the development of the expo’s planned 4.4 square-kilometre plot in Jebel Ali and connecting infrastructure such as extending the Dubai Metro’s Red line.

However, investors surveyed by the local chapter of CFA Institute, a global, non-profit organisation of investment professionals, are concerned that a successful bid by Dubai to host the expo could lead to another economic bubble. The study measured the opinions of 216 investment professionals in the UAE, and found out that more than half of the survey’s respondents (55 per cent) were concerned that a successful bid for the Expo 2020 will create another economic bubble, and only a quarter believed the UAE has done enough to make its economy immune since 2008.

Meanwhile, Egypt-headquartered investment bank EFG Hermes says the expo will make the country’s debt situation more pressing than it is now. “If the next phase of the investment cycle, accelerated by the Expo, is not met by revenue-building measures and asset sales, this could result in total Dubai debt rising to 110-115 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020, up from 102 per cent of GDP currently,” the lender said in a report.

Without a doubt, the winning expo bid will provide a massive tourism boost. It is estimated that over the six months of the event 25 million people would visit Dubai Expo 2020, with more than 70 per cent coming from outside the UAE.

Destination Dubai will track the roadmap to Dubai’s continuing economic recovery, providing investors and stakeholders insights on what is driving confidence in the emirate’s equity market, which this year has seen a 60 percent rise on growing confidence in Dubai’s long-term prospects.

A dedicated session on the real estate sector will provide attendees key insights on one of Dubai’s most critical growth drivers. “Real estate prices in the Emirate have risen more than 30 per cent since the start of the year on growing demand from local, regional and international investors. In addition, major private and government-related real estate projects involving billions of dollars of new investment in Dubai have been announced, opening a possible new boom phase in Dubai’s property market,” says MEED’s editorial director Richard Thompson.

Other initiatives that are transforming Dubai into an unrivalled global hub and the gateway to the high-growth emerging markets (CIS, Africa, China and India) will be comprehensively discussed at Destination Dubai, detailing the roadmap for the build up and creation of a genuine and holistic “destination” involving travel, industry, real estate, tourism, retail and hospitality infrastructure and support systems.

Destination Dubai is scheduled to take place on 28-29 January at the JW Marriott Marquis. More information is available on the website www.destinationdubai2020.com.

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