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Dubai chosen to host 2020 World Expo

AFP

Dubai won the right on Wednesday to host the 2020 World Expo, becoming the first Middle Eastern city to organise the event in its more than 150-year history.

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Dubai won the right on Wednesday to host the 2020 World Expo, beating off competition from the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo, Yekaterinburg in Russia and Izmir in Turkey in a vote by members of the world fair body.

United Arab Emirates’ city won the support of 116 out of 164 voting members of the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions in a final-round run-off against Yekaterinburg.

Dubai becomes the first Middle Eastern city to host an event which the UAE hopes will pull in billions of dollars of investment.

World Expos, which participating countries use to showcase technological prowess, culture and architecture, are held every five years for six months. Milan will host the next one in 2015.

The fairs hold huge stakes for would-be hosts, which are prepared to spend billions on infrastructure, hotels, buildings and other preparations to attract millions of tourists.

China said it spent $4.2 billion when Shanghai hosted the last World Expo in 2010, double what it spent at the Beijing Olympics.

Some Chinese media reported the true cost of hosting closer to $58 billion, many times the $164 million profit it reportedly made mainly through ticket sales and corporate sponsorship deals.

While the Shanghai fair pulled in a record 73 million visitors, not all expos prove to be a major tourist draw.

The number of visitors to the 2000 fair in the German city of Hanover were less than half the 40 million expected, leaving a financial shortfall of over a billion euros, according to German media.

But the fairs help the local economy through a surge in public spending and offer the host country a moment in the spotlight on the world stage.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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