DUBAI: The Gulf emirate of Dubai celebrated its successful bid on Wednesday to host the World Expo 2020, with its ruler promising to “astonish” the world.
Fireworks exploded off the sides of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, after the result of the competition held in Paris was announced.
Jubilant residents cruised through the city in their cars waving flags of the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a member.
“We renew our promise to astonish the world in 2020,” said the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, in a government statement.
“Dubai Expo2020 will breath new life into the ancient role of the Middle East as a melting pot for cultures and creativity,” said Sheikh Mohammed.
He said Dubai Expo 2020 will “undoubtedly stand out as the best edition in the history of the event in terms of preparation and presentation.”
The Gulf city state beat Russia’s Ekaterinberg in the final round of voting to clinch a prestigious event credited with delivering a huge boost to tourism and business for its host city.
The four candidate cities, which also included Brazil’s Sao Paulo and Turkey’s Izmir, had pulled out all the stops during 20 minute presentations before voting by the 168 member states of the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE), which oversees the organisation of the events.
According to UAE officials, 40 percent of the estimated 227,000 new jobs expected to be created as a result of Expo will be in the tourism and travel sectors.
The site chosen for the event is spread over 438 hectares (1,082 acres) and located between the international airports of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE.