Are you ready for 2020?

Gemma Greenwood

Prepare now for the region’s biggest event of the decade

It’s been almost two weeks already since it was announced Dubai had won its bid for the World Expo 2020.

The proactive amongst you will have already planned your 2020 strategy. Some will have devised this months ago given Dubai’s attractive tourism proposition meant it had a high chance of being voted in as the Expo’s host nation, with some confidently claiming it was ‘in the bag’ weeks ago.

But if you haven’t had a chance to think about what the Expo means for you and your business, it’s time you put into an action plan into place, given the event is expected to attract 25 million visitors to Dubai, 70 per cent of whom will be international guests, many visiting the UAE for the first time.

This figures exceeds by five million the 20 million visitor target that had already been set by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) for 2020 and represents a huge hike in visitors compared to current numbers, with 10 million tourists visiting Dubai in 2012.

But it’s not just Dubai that will benefit from hosting the Expo, Abu Dhabi is also anticipating a surge in visitors, particularly given some of its iconic attractions, including three world-class museums – Zayed National Museum, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Louvre Abu Dhabi – will be open for business by this point in time.

Similarly, many visitors flocking to the Expo will also be keen to explore the entire UAE and its neighbouring countries, particularly progressive GCC nations such as Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The Expo will not only throw the spotlight on Dubai, but turn the eyes of the world to a region that is brimming with world-class infrastructure, tourism attractions and business opportunities galore.

So the question is, how will you ensure you get your slice of the rapidly-expanding tourism pie?

It’s time to consider what business prospects the Expo will generate and how best you can harness them.

A holistic approach is required; what product or service will you offer and why – and to whom will you offer it? It is only then that your sales and marketing strategy can get into full swing.

Identify your niche, your source market and get the promotional wheels in motion, working with like-minded partners and leveraging government awareness campaigns to get your message across.

They might not know it yet, but citizens from all four corners of the globe are waiting to be wooed to one of the most dynamic cities – and countries - in the world, in one of the fastest-growing regions on this planet.

So don’t just sit there, get them revved up about Expo 2020 to make sure you play your part in what could be the best event in the World Expo’s history.

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