Dubai, Aug 30 (IANS) A drive into Dubai, the business hub of the Middle East, will give visitors an idea of the development, road construction and upkeep of infrastructure that the city is going through in anticipation of Expo 2020 — a global event which will welcome the world to the UAE for the six-month exposition.
According to an Expo spokesperson, Expo 2020 Dubai plans to host 25 million visitors during the six months between October 20 and April 10, 2021.
To this end, preparations are on in full swing to well-equip the site — strategically located between Dubai and Abu Dhabi — “to manage this influx of guests by utilising the most innovative technologies to provide a seamless experience to the estimated 300,000 visitors each day”, the spokesperson told IANS.
“With over three billion people living in the greater MEASA (Middle East Africa and South Asia) region, Dubai and the UAE are uniquely situated at the crossroads of the east and west. Expo 2020 Dubai aims to leverage Dubai’s unique position as a global connection hub to bring people together from around the world.
“India is a key target country for visitors, given its geographical proximity and existing commercial relationships with the UAE,” the spokesperson added.
In March this year, physical preparations had begun at the 4.38 sq km site for execution of the site development plan. With design plans in place by end of 2016, most of the construction will take place in 2018 and 2019.
The theme for Expo 2020 is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.
According to the spokesperson, the master plan for the site involves giving an “inclusive experience with specific attractions, services, amenities and design considerations that maximise enjoyment and comfort for all”.
In preparation for the global mega-event, Expo 2020 is building a number of commercial partnerships with leading global companies from a diverse range of industries, including aviation, technology, finance, shipping and logistics, telecommunications and travel and tourism.
That apart, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is implementing an integrated plan for roads and transportation to serve the exhibition, shared Matar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, RTA.
The plan includes details for solutions for moving people from their accommodation to the exhibition location, along with managing visitor movement within the exhibition itself.
Encouraging use of public transportation whenever possible is at the core of the planning and it is expected that public transportation will make up 51 per cent of all forms of transportation used to reach the Expo site, Tayer said.
“The execution of this plan is already underway with development of essential procedures including extending the Red Line of Dubai Metro by 15 km from Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station to the Expo site. The extension encompasses seven stations, with one of these dedicated to servicing the exhibition,” Tayer added.
The number of visitors using the metro is expected to reach approximately 12,000 passengers per hour in one direction.
Furthermore, more than 17 bus stations spread across Dubai will be provided specifically for Expo 2020, with more than 500 buses shuttling passengers to the Expo site.
According to the plan, around 49,000 parking spaces will be available around the exhibition’s location and 1,900 taxis will be available for servicing the exhibition. Also, a network of main and sub roads is currently under development to provide flexibility in travelling to and from the Expo site for all forms of transportation.”
Tayer said the amount required to build the planned road and transportation infrastructure will reach around AED 12 billion, but the idea is to also benefit other projects around the Expo site.
One such site is Dubai Parks and Resorts, an integrated theme park complex which will add to the city’s expansive entertainment offerings. Located 15 km from the Expo site and 20 km from the new Al Maktoum International Airport, it opens in October this year.
Home to Bollywood Parks Dubai, Motiongate Dubai, LEGOLAND Dubai and LEGOLAND Waterpark, the destination will be opening in October this year. It aims to be a well established and globally recognised leisure and entertainment attraction by Expo 2020, said Vinit Shah, Chief Destination Management Officer, Dubai Parks and Resorts.
“All of these attractions – as well as others opening this year, including IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai Safari and resident Las Vegas-style aqua-theatre La Perle by Dragone – are expected to greatly enhance Dubai’s international appeal, particularly among families,” Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), told IANS.