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Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Gulf Business - Expo 2020 Dubai: Key Themes Likely to Emerge From the Event
Vijay Valecha, Special to Gulf Business August 10, 2021
The time is finally here.
The much-awaited Expo 2020 Dubai will finally inaugurate in approximately 2.5 months’ time from now. For Dubai and the UAE, this couldn’t come at a better time with the world slowly stepping out of the shadows of the past Covid – 19 slowdown.
Even as the new delta variant has caused some nervousness amongst market participants, the collective wisdom this time around is that of continuing with the normal routine lives amidst the ongoing vaccination drives and precautionary measures.
Built over a massive area of 1000 + acres, Dubai government has embarked on this to be a separate city. The mega event is expected to see a footfall of more than a million visitors from 192 participating countries. The event is scheduled to run over a 6-month period from October onwards.
Owing to the pandemic, the entire Expo event is expected to be streamlined live virtually as well for the audiences who are unable to attend physically. This hybrid model especially bodes well for participants like India where its huge population is a major hindrance to complete economy reopening.
The Expo 2020 theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ in essence symbolises the spirit of UAE as a nation. UAE is home to a diverse population of more than 200 nationalities. The thoughtful leadership of UAE has always provided an environment for positive growth. The Expo 2020 in a way depicts this very theme.
Even as the preparations are underway, there are a few key themes that are likely to emerge from it.
Use of AI and innovative payment methodsThe advent of the Covid–19 pandemic has seen global economy consumers switching more towards a digital theme. Latest market statistics point towards increased participation from developing market countries in making use of online channels of payments.
Dubai has always been a step ahead when compared to its regional peers in opting for and promoting new innovative technologies. The right use of technology always unites innovation, business, and growth. It also acts as a strong catalyst for transforming challenges into opportunities. Expo 2020’s Point of Sales system will be fully integrated with major global payment providers. This will ensure merchant acceptance of all types of card transactions. This will support not just the normal plastic card swipes but also QR code-based payments.
Rise in insurance needs and telehealth opportunities
The event will likely see a short-term surge in insurance needs for both tourists as well as business class travellers. Individuals who are expected to stay during most of the event time will especially go for short-term packages to safeguard their personal as well as professional life.
This demand for preventive care will likely give rise to new insurance and protection coverage products which will be available to UAE residents over the longer term. As an instance, standalone telemedicine providers could get a greater positioning via the event.
Recently, Dubai Outpatient Care introduced the world’s first holographic telemedicine consultation. The service is likely to improve the quality of patient treatment regardless of their location. The Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre has received over 2,000 + calls since the Covid–19 pandemic started. The need to create social distancing has put the focus on telehealth and its potential advantages.
Fuelling the real estate market
Since the start of the year, Dubai-based property agents have received increased inquires for both residential as well as commercial settlements. Suburb areas like Business Bay, JVC , Sports City and Barsha South are now seeing increased investor traction. Most of these new areas are also near the Expo 2020 main host site.
The event has increased further synergies in the real estate markets with the development of new localities and expansion of existing projects. The Expo event has also seen the expansion of existing metro and bus routes. This has furthermore opened the scope for new residential units’ addition in unexplored areas.
Sustainability – the way of living
Sustainability has been integrated into the planning, design, construction and other phases of the event. This also happens to be one of the three themes with the other two being opportunity and mobility. The main event site has made use of environmentally friendly building material along with onsite clean energy and water.
This is expected to reduce the overall power consumption by 30 per cent. The event management authorities have also mandated that the various participating retail partners minimise their packaging and single-use materials. The main site will host a recycling plant that will recycle paper and cardboard to produce useful items such as cup holders, gift boxes, and mementos.