Everything you need to know about the World Expo

Dubai has emerged as the frontrunner to host the World Expo 2020 and if the emirate is announced the winner on November 27, it will be the first time the event has been held in the Middle East. Here’s a look at everything you need to know about the World Expo.

What is a World Expo?

The World Expo is six-month-long global event held every five years, which serves as a key junction for global communities to share innovations, discuss international issues and look for ways to improve standard of living for the world’s population. Since the inaugural Great Exhibition held in London in 1851, World Expos have brought together millions of visitors from around the world to discover pavilions, cultural events and innovations.  The last Expo was held in Shanghai, China with the theme, ‘Better City, Better life’.  The next Expo will be held in 2015 in Milan, Italy. 

Who participates in the Expo?

Participants include nations, international organizations and businesses. The Expo attracts millions of visitors from around the world who  venture out at exhibitions, pavilions and events that are planned by the participants. Each Expo focuses on a universal theme.

How is the host chosen and what are they required to do?

Potential host nations are invited to participate in the bidding process, which begins six years before the date of the exhibition. Each country places their bid to host the event and  votes are then tallied by the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE), an organization based in Paris. During the bid campaign, each country draws up their theme, site and plans and BIE delegates visit each bid nation to assess the pitch. The final decision is made following a member vote at the BIE congress, which this year takes place on November 26-27 in Paris. A winning city needs at least 50% of the vote.

At the Expo, hosts are required to design exhibitions and pavilions to attract ventures and opportunities on a global scale. It is in charge of accelerating projects facilitating legacies and inventions.

What is Dubai’s masterplan for the Expo?

Dubai launched its bid to host Expo 2020 in November 2011. The emirate’s masterplan falls under the theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ and aims to create state-of-the-art infrastructure, including development and research facilities in a  cost-effective environment and transparent economy for its international participants.. The campaign emphasises collaboration and partnership and focuses on three main factors – mobility, sustainability and opportunity. 

What are some memorable Expos of the past?

The Expo aims to facilitate innovation but it is not all about futuristic technology.  One of the most memorable Expos was the 1904 Louis World Fair, where popular and delicious food items such as the banana split, ice cream, hamburgers and hot dogs were first presented. Also, did you know the iconic Eiffel Tower was put on display at the 1889 Exposition Universelle?