A jubilant Dubai hopes that hosting the world’s five-yearly trade fair in 2020 will draw new investment to an economy still recovering from a debt crisis that required a bailout by Abu Dhabi.
The United Arab Emirates city state saw off competition from Brazil, Russia and Turkey on Wednesday to win the right to host Expo 2020.
It expects the prize will give a welcome boost to an already reviving tourism- and property-based economy.
The government projects the six-month fair will stimulate 25 billion dirhams ($A8 billion) in additional investment and 277,000 new jobs.
It forecasts a boost to gross domestic product of more than 140 billion dirhams, equivalent to around 44 per cent of the 2012 total.
Deutsche Bank said Dubai needs some $US43 billion ($A48 billion) to upgrade its infrastructure, the bulk of which would go into expanding hotels and other leisure facilities, with some $US10 billion more for transport infrastructure.
“The successful Expo bid should act as a catalyst to wider investment growth in Dubai, largely aimed at increasing the capacity of the economy,” said Monica Malik, chief economist at EFG Hermes Emirates investment bank.
Although much of the investment earmarked for the fair was already part of a master development plan, Vision 2020, the win “will add to Dubai’s confidence and fast track implementation”, she said.
GDP growth is now expected to increase to between 5.5 per cent and six per cent in 2014, compared with 4.9 per cent in the first half of this year.
Dubai’s economy, which unlike all other Gulf states has no oil revenues to depend on, grew 2.8 per cent in 2010, 3.7 per cent in 2011, and 4.4 per cent in 2012, as its core sectors recovered following the 2008 crisis.
The once-battered property market, which shed more than half of its peak value following the crisis, has bounced into recovery over the past year, and rents have also surged.