Italy PM Meloni determined to bring Expo 2030 world fair to Rome

Italy's PM Meloni holds her end-of-year news conference in Rome

ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Thursday she would do her best to ensure that the Expo 2030 world fair is held in Rome, even though she had little time to work on the project launched by her predecessor.

"As an Italian and a Roman, I think it would be a great opportunity" to host the event, Meloni, who was sworn in two months ago at the head of a right-wing coalition, said at the prime minister's traditional end-year news conference.

"I have talked to 30-40 heads of government. I intend to personally invest in this ... I started working on it a bit late compared to what I would have liked (but) I wouldn't write us off," she added.

Expos are global events that gather millions of visitors in their host cities. The host country for the 2030 edition is expected to be elected in November 2023.

Rome faces competition from Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh which has submitted a bid as part of a push to transform the kingdom's economy and diversify away from oil.

South Korea's Busan and Ukraine's Odesa have also put themselves forward, according to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE).

In July 2022, the Korean boy band BTS was named as the official ambassador for the bid by Busan, which lies around 300 km (190 miles) southeast of the capital Seoul.

Saudi Arabia's gulf neighbour and regional business hub the United Arab Emirates held the Expo 2020 world fair, which was delayed for a year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project examination phase for Expo 2030 is currently under way and BIE missions will visit candidate countries between January and March of the next year.

(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni, editing by Gavin Jones and Nick Macfie)