Dubai Expo 2020 and Its Impact on Countries


It is evident that the Expo 2020 has been awarded to Dubai after competitive bidding was done. Studies show the uniqueness of the Expo as one of its kind in the Middle East in a country that has a significant number of its expatriate labor from the Southern Asia region. Besides, the award of the Expo 2020 happened at a time when Dubai was undergoing drastic growth and expansion as a city offering services to different regions such as the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (Rosalind, Jenkins and Karanikola 3). In itself, the city has a unique combination of talent and position, making it rich in culture and other social aspects. In its position as achieve trading center, Dubai will make additional gains in terms of real estate development which will show a positive impact on the pricing of properties. It will facilitate the development of the region, lead to economic growth, and increase the GDP of the nation. In addition, it will contribute to an increase in investments in different areas and in the growth of hospitality and tourism industry.

The commencement of Dubai 2020 is expected to stimulate a significant number of activities in the commercial sectors and different development projects in the Emirates. In addition, there will be an accelerated growth and development of projects in the construction industry to meet the deadline for the Expo 2020. Financial experts predict that the activities in Dubai will attract large sums of investments in the range of US$100 billion in terms of foreign direct investment in many industries and areas of investments such as in the telecommunications industry, the education sector to train more skilled and highly qualified and workers besides, in the infrastructure development, the real estate development, the transportation, logistics, and tourism sectors.

It is estimated that several sectors of the economy are likely to benefit. Among those sectors are the energy sector, hospitality and tourism, and infrastructure and development. The infrastructure and transportation industry could directly benefit due to the expected foreign direct investment and due to the position of Dubai as a transportation hub in the Middle East and the whole world. It is evident that Dubai has invested millions of dollars in infrastructure development by upgrading and expanding exiting ports and airports. Dubai International Airport has gained the reputation as one of the busiest airports in the world and that has made significant contributions to the economy of Dubai. Besides, due to the development of the economy and significant demand for more infrastructures to support the provision of services, Dubai has developed the second airport known as the Al Maktoum International Airport. The rationale is to initiate a rapid increase in the traffic and people using the route and having Dubai as the destination of choice. On the other hand, the hospitality and tourism sector has shown an increase in the size and number of people demanding the services.

This study will be undertaken to establish the importance of the Expo 2020 on the Dubai economy, the history of the Expo 2020, its impact on the countries that are part of the Expo20020, and the economic impact and future of Dubai. This study will consist of a literature review of various articles guided by the research objectives and a statistical data analysis of the items to be investigated. In this study, both the qualitative and quantitative research paradigms will be used to answer the research questions and enable the researcher to make conclusions based on empirical evidence.


The researcher has established the following tasks as the objectives of the present study:

  1. To conduct a comprehensive literature review on such questions as the importance of the Expo 2020 for the development of Dubai, the potential impact of the Expo on the transport and tourism sectors of Dubai’s economy, the influence of Expo on the logistics, life quality, and welfare of Dubai.
  2. To study the history of the Expo, its evolution, and the specific approaches of different host countries to the tasks presented by the Expo.
  3. To analyze the effect of the Expo on host countries and find out what impact the Expo had on their GDP, economic development, and employment.
  4. Perform an assessment of the potential impact of the Expo on the current and future economic development of Dubai and make professional conclusions.


The importance of the Expo 2020 for Dubai

A synopsis of the importance of the Expo 2020 to Dubai has been done by various authors and governments from different perspectives. For instance, the government of Dubai issued a general statement of the proposed theme of the Expo 2020 as “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. In the context of Morris and Kazi’s arguments, there is little Exposition of the statements that point to the importance of the event, it is imperative to deduce from the themes and sub-themes to draw conclusions with regard to various sectors of the economy such as is evident in the facilitation of infrastructure development, which includes the aviation and transport industries. A report on the direct impact of the Expo 2020 on the aviation industry and its growth shows an increase in the number of aviation activities since 2012. An increase in the number of users of the Dubai airport has increased by over 51 million passengers traveling through the Dubai International Airport in this period. Over 150 destinations used the airport that served over 220 destinations.

Expo 2020 for Dubai

In theory, Nadkarniand Jauncey note that the explosive growth of the aviation industry is unique because of its distinctiveness in reliability, cost, speed, and flexibility, which is a key driver of the need to develop the infrastructure within the means necessary to accommodate the large and expected increase in customers that will arise during the event (22). The aviation sector is the most valued long distance and time sensitive traveling mechanisms for both short haul and long haul transportation. Demand and supply theory plays a significant role in facilitating the growth of the sector to reflect the actual ability to service the customer demands because of better and more capable infrastructure to generate revenue and profits.

According to Yu, Wang and Seo, the relative attractiveness and overall competitiveness of the aviation industry within the Emirates leads further to reference Porter’s theory of competitive advantage, making the aviation industry’s attributes referenced as strong factors of production (12). This fact has made the authorities concerned with the aviation industry facilitate the development of different airports and other factors to make Dubai competitive.

The aviation industry is deemed to be one of the futuristic components that could spur growth and development of Dubai because it contributes over 15% of the city’s GDP. That has facilitated the growth in the number of aircraft that is being bought. For instance, during the Dubai Airshow in November 2013, an order for 150 aircraft was made by the Emirates and Flydubai Company to address the increasing demand for air travel. That is apart from the 50 Airbus A380s worth $100 billion and the 150 Boeing 777x aircraft made at the same time. Some forecasts, which do not provide statistical data to justify the claims, have shown a significant increase in the number of routes to China and the Indian subcontinent

In the reflection of one component of the theme (Creating the Future), it is evident that Dubai has invested significant amounts of money in the redesign, and development of its transport hub. It is projected that millions of international visitors will attend the Expo 2020 and in anticipation, rapid infrastructure development is needed to accommodate the influx of visitors. Statistical forecasts show that over 17.5 million people will visit Dubai with 300,000 people making daily visits. To accommodate the huge number of visitors, Dubai is in the process of developing and expanding its airports and one of them is the Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central (DWC), which is estimated to host over to accommodate 160 million passengers.

According to Khan, besides, it is estimated that due to its position as a transit point for different business destinations in the UAE and the availability of hospitality services that attract millions of tourists, it has stimulated the development of the transport and infrastructure industries that have shown evidence of rapid evolution (20). That is in addition to the role that the logistics and transportation sector plays in facilitating international trade. A report prepared by the world trade organization (WTO) shows a volume of trade worthy 18.3 trillion dollars occurred in 2013 which reflects an 8% GDP. It is estimated that Dubai has a consumer base of more than 231 million people, and it is bound to increase due to the Expo 2020. In addition, it is estimated that up to 25 million tourists are bound to visit Dubai in 2020. As per December 2014, a statement issued in a University and Industry partnership forum on Expo 2020 shows that more people have received high-quality training on various areas of interest, which has facilitated the development of academic institutions with the right curriculum to train people on various infrastructure development techniques.

Dubai has ventured into the development of additional projects such as the Etihad Railway, the Dubai Metro, Ajman International Airport, Al Maktoum International Airport, Abu Dhabi Light Rail Transit/Transit, and Al Mafraq Bridge among others. The large investments have led to the high-quality infrastructure that has been rated by the world economic forum as the fifth best in the world. It is estimated that Dubai Metro has the longest automated metro network that handled more than 60 million passengers in 2011. Besides, investments have been made in the construction of 270 km of a tram network, water transportation routes, new bus routes, and a 318 km metro network. In addition, the construction of a 1200 km railway has been done to increase the quality and availability of services being offered to address the anticipated increase in traffic during the Expo 2020.

It has been established that infrastructure spending keeps on increasing and is estimated to be 4.3 trillion dollars. Besides, the National Transport Authority estimates that the transport and communications sector has growth and now contributes 7.5% GDP. Already, there is an increase in the number of people visiting Dubai due to the anticipated Expo 2020. That has also spurred the growth of the tourism sector leading to an increase in demand for capacity to support service delivery. Significant development was noticed in the capacity of the Dubai Metro network by enhancing its capacity to handle more than a quarter of a billion people per year. It is estimated that by 2023, the Network of Dubai Metro will have a capacity of more than 200 stations operating on a 421 km track.

The development of the logistics sector has projected significant development in its growth trajectory because of the construction of an increased number of cargo-specific ports and oil and non-oil manufacturing clusters besides the growth and development of the manufacturing industries and free trade zones. In addition, the city has witnessed the growth of the Emirates rail system that serves the GCC countries for the transportation of cargo. The Expo 2020 has facilitated the emergence and growth of Dubai as a logistics hub due to its central location. The number of employees and expatriates working in the communications and logistics sectors has increased, and that has made it rated the second largest employer after Saudi Arabia. That is in addition to the investments in the development of the infrastructure that have been made in Jabel Ali, which is the largest port in the GCC.

The growth of the aviation industry, the redesign and development that has been experienced due to the anticipated Expo 2020 has inspired profound changes with the economic impact in terms on the GDP being evident, which is expected to rise to 32% in 2020. It is expected that up to $9 billion could be spent for infrastructure upgrades. Besides, the annual wage bill for the oil consumed in air travel is estimated to be 30% of the operating costs, making up to $200 billion. Besides the infrastructure development, it has been estimated that the Expo 2020 is the hot bed of innovations that could have a global impact.

Air transportation flows vs. economic attributes

It is imperative to consider the attributes that make the air transportation define the competitiveness of an economy that underpins Dubai’s investment in the Aviation industry for the Expo 2020 preparations. In theory, the flow of passengers expected to visit Dubai in 2020 can be broken down into leisure, holidays, and business. According to Briggs, Morrison and Coleman, the flow of customers is expected to be bi-directional where inbound customers are expected to spend money on services delivered (12). This is in line with the economic theory underlying the propensity to consume. In addition, air transportation will give rise to labor and goods, enable the flow of tourism, remittances, up investments, and increase the goods flowing into the country. It is also anticipated that the inbound passengers will serve as a source of labor during the Expo 2020, a firm strategy, knowledge, and skilled labor. Here, a firm strategy is affected by air travel that enables Dubai to access highly skilled labor, regional location, managerial staff, and the sharing of skilled staff among the companies operating in Dubai. It is projected that highly skilled labor from different countries will visit Dubai leading to the acquisition of high-skill high-quality employees that enable knowledge and technology transfer to Dubai leading to a spillover into the local economy through collaboration and training.

Researchers agree that an increase in the Capital stock will be experienced due to the business passengers who will use air travel to move to Dubai to monitor their investments. That is in addition to the attraction of foreign Capital investments due to the trade opportunities that will happen during the Expo 2020 and a recruitment of new customers who meet, which increases the demand for goods and services.

It is imperative to note that the government of the Emirates will be necessitated to positively influence the economic environment that allows for air travel to thrive in anticipation of the Expo 2020. Here, those variables that have an econometric impact are embedded in the ability of the government’s capability of facilitating the growth of the air sector. The variables can be influenced by the government such as by introducing laws and regulations besides identifying those routes of economic value to the government. In theory, the local government will provide the right environment to facilitate the growth and development of those variables that have an econometric impact.

Logistics services

There is a potential impact on the development of the logistics market in Dubai due to the anticipated occurrence of the Expo 2020. Researchers have noted an Exponential growth in the logistics market due to the expected event. This has been characterized by the development of the logistics industry and its evolution from traditional transportation services to the value added services that are projected to serve the needs of the attendants of the Expo 2020. The rationale is that there is an increased investment in technology advancement and policy adjustments that have seen significant growth in the sector in Dubai (Briggs, Morrison and Colema 18). It is evident that transport and logistics will play an important role in the international trade besides such as is evident in the Expo 2020. The increase and spur of trade that will happen between Dubai and the rest of the world due to the Expo 2020 will facilitate the development and growth of the logistics and transportation sector both in air travel and ground travel.

The Impact of the Expo on the Dubai Economy

The economic impact on Dubai has been evident due to the response from the Customs Department of Economic Development which has created a corridor to facilitate the movement of goods and boost trade within the region (Nadkarni and Jauncey 23). The corridor is described as a virtual point of contact and route that facilitates the logistics needed for the movement of goods that is expected to improve in volume as the Expo 2020 event draws near. The proposed clearance corridor that is reserved for the movement of goods and people will expedite the goods and customer clearance process, and that will lead to time and cost savings. Over 12,000 cargo transfers will be given space, and that will enable the ports authority to save millions of dollars that are lost due to deposits made to carter for extra time on the port.

Spending and GDP

It is expected that the large spending that will happen in Dubai besides the economic activities that will happen points to the large commercial opportunities that are likely to happen. Morris and Kazi have discussed extensively on different economic models point to the positive effects that are expected during the Expo 2020 (23). For instance, a study that used different lateral economic variables to determine the correlation between the Expo 2020 and the economic development of Dubai shows a strong relationship between the contributions made by various economic activities. The study concluded that the Gross Domestic Product per capita (GDP) is likely to show a positive trend based on an empirical inspection of data (Briggs, Morrison and Coleman 29).

Quality of life

In each case of the economic impact, the theoretical propositions purely indicate the strength of the relationship in terms of quality of life that is evident in terms of the experiences people undergo due to establishing living standards. The Expo 2020 has those far-reaching effects because of the financial implications of the impact as is analyzed using different variables that are either non-parametric or parametric in nature. An econometric model was developed to show the relationship between the impacts of the Expo 2020 on the economy of Dubai in terms of its GDP. The rationale was to understand the indicators and show evidence of the positive impact on the economy. A typical example is the following theoretical model that shows the qualitative analysis that was conducted to determine the impact of the Expo 2020 on different econometric variables. Based on the model, the left side shows a response variable that occurs in terms of the GDP per capita for Dubai and the exploratory variables to the right of the model.

Yi = β0 + β1Xi+ βi

In the above case, the exploratory variables can be quantified in terms of those activities that yield economic value leading to those indicators of positive economic yield. This model, when evaluated graphically, shows the following results.


In the horizontal axis, there are the economic variables of the Expo 2020 and along the vertical axis is a metric for the economic variables. In this case, the study shows a positive rise as the graph is evidently positive.


A study based on the multivariate statistical models on the hallmark of the tourism sector shows an increase in income. The rationale of the study was to determine for sure, using a transfer function based on the results of the occurrence of the Expo activities in other countries and their economic impacts on the local economy. The study provided a qualitative understanding of the quantitative estimates of the impact of Expo on the local economy.

Some research has tried to quantify some of the economic impacts using multiple regression models. According to Khan, one of the models shows that despite the fall in the prices of oil globally, there is an increase or growth of the tourism sector due to partially the Expo 2020 and due to the location of Dubai as a global transport hub (11). The demand function to tourism is likely to increase because of the positive impact of the Expo 2020 and evidence on previous data. Most of the model components that were used in the regression analysis showed a positive impact on the tourism due to an increase in expenditure that is projected to increase to its highest come 2020. Many researchers have tried to validate the findings by using different models and comparing the results to show the authenticity of the findings. Among the models that have been used are the trend-fitting models, Brown’s double exponential smoothing, accurate forecasts using six-time series methods, and the proportional change models. In this case, a common component that characterized the models includes the income levels, relative prices in the demand function of the demand function of tourism, and the exchange rates.

A study that used estimates due to different tourism sources which include the United States, Japan, Britain, and several other western countries as a source of tourists with Dubai as the target destination showed that an increase in the number of tourists and expenditure could increase accordingly. A meta-analysis was conducted to determine the demand and compare it with the previous demand when the Expo had not been announced, and the results were integrated into 90 other studies to verify the results. The objective of the study was to determine the elasticity of demand of the tourists by computing the variance of the regression parameters and the mean. Results drawn from the statistic tests showed empirical evidence of an increase in the number of tourists visiting and expected to visit Dubai, an increase in expenditure in different sectors of the economy, and better allocation of resources for the development of the infrastructure to support the provision of services prior to the event.

Volume of visitors

In conclusion, the study showed very striking aspects of the likely impact of the Expo 2020 on the economy of Dubai. One of the findings indicates that the arrival of visitors from different countries could be seasonal, but the trend could increase with the nearness of the Expo 2020. In this case, Dubai could experience an increase in demand for basic amenities besides other services such as leisure, health, transportation among others. In addition, a comparison of the economic activities on the hypothesized expenditure due to the Expo 2020 could lead to an increase in income levels across different sectors of the economy. That could, however, be in direct opposition to the trend that is observed when normal business occurs. However, it is important to note that the price index must be adjusted to suit the demand for services and other products related to the Expo 2020 to increase the income levels.

The induced, direct, and indirect impacts resulting from expenditure on the acquisition of products and services on the economy of Dubai is evident. That is in addition to the fiscal impact of people employed to work in the construction sector in Dubai such as the marginal tax benefits accruing from the high income levels of the employees, increased tax impact from tourists, increase revenue from internet usage due to the large number of users. The total value of the local economy is likely to show a positive increment due to the myriad of activities besides construction, air travel, tourism, academic work, more employment, tax revenue and other sources of income provide additional positive impact on the economy.

Investigating the History of the Expo

Many countries have experienced the exhibitions that last for a long time, and a list of those countries can be made available. Among the countries that have hosted the Expo include Great Britain that occurred in London between 04/1851 – 10/1851, USA between 05/1876 – 11/1876, France between 04/1867 – 11/1867, Sydney between 09/1879 – 04/1880, and Milan between 05/2015 – 10/2015. Besides that, several other Expos have happened as shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1

Table 1

Table 1

Table 1

The earliest exhibition occurred in France due to the French culture which culminated in the French industrial Exposition that was witnessed in 1944. Subsequent exhibitions occurred in France in the following years, and it was replicated elsewhere in many other countries. The goal of the exhibits was to strengthen and encourage innovation, encourage people to make improvements in technology and agriculture. The rationale for the exhibitions apart from the technology and agriculture was to show the pride of the French people in innovation and technology development. Despite the development of the French Expos, it was not well defined what was required. However, replications of the Expos followed very soon, and it was in 1851 that the British imitated their well know expo.

One of the earliest Expo that happened and that had implications for the income of the city is that which happened in 1851 in Great Britain. It is estimated that the fair attracted 6 million people from different parts of the world. The Expo generated several thousands of pounds that were used in education and to develop certain cultural centers in Great Britain such as the Geological Museum, Museum of Manufactures, and the Museum of Science and Natural History. Figure 1 below is an illustration of one of the exhibitions that occurred in Great Britain in 1851.

Starting from 1933, the earliest recorded Expos that have internationally been recognized show evidence of intense political and economic activities that lead to social propaganda, economic development and collaborations, and political propaganda. The rationale was to facilitate the growth and development of the Expo to a powerful global tool that could lead to stronger collaborations, economic growth, better political relationships, environmental conservation and protection, cultural exchanges, and enhanced communication among the participating countries. In each case, the Expos were labeled according to the theme that as designed to fit into the Expo of each specific event. Table 2 below shows the Expo that was held in each specific country and the accompanying themes.

Table 2

1933-1934 Chicago America A Century Progress
1935 Brussel Belgium Peace Through Competition
1937 Paris France Arts and Technics in Modern Life
1939-1940 New York America Building the World of Tomorrow
1958 Brussels Belgium Evaluation of the World for a More Human World
1962 Seattle America Man in the Space Age
1964-1965 New York America Peace Through Understanding
1967 Montreal Canada Man and His World Land
1970 Osaka Japan Progress and Harmony for Mankind
1975 Okinawa Japan The Sea We Would Like to See
1982 Knoxville America Energy Turns the World
1984 New Orleans America The Worlds of Rivers-Fresh Water as a Source of Life
1985 Tsukuba Japan Living and Environment Household Science and Technology for Human Beings
1986 Vancouver Canada World in Motion-Would in Touch
1988 Brisbane Australia Leisure in the Age of Technology
1990 Osaka Japan Human Beings and Nature
1992 Sevilla Spain Age of Discovery
199 (Khan 11) Genova Italy Christopher Columbus-the Ship and the Sea
1993 Taehung Korea A New Path Forward
1998 Lisbon Portugal Oceans-A Heritage for the Future
2000 Hannover Germany Humankind, Nature, Technology and Development
2005 Aichi Japan Nature’s Wisdom
(Khan 11)
Shanghai China Better City, Better Life

It is evident from Table 2 that each country had a specific theme to the Expo, and the theme was an illustration of the goal the country was interested in achieving. In addition, it is evident that each country’s theme was a direct result of the objectives of the Expo that was held despite lack of data to show the significance of the Expo in achieving the laid down objectives.

The Impact of the Expo on the Countries that Have Hosted the Expo

Direct and indirect impacts have been associated with the Expos that have been held in various countries. On the global scale, the impact has far-reaching consequences that have been positively identified in different sectors of their economies. A typical example is the economic impact of the London airport and its residual effect on the economy of Britain. It has been established that due to the connection of London with different Expo destinations, the event has generated over 1.3 billion pounds into the GDP. When analyzed critically, it is evident that 425 pounds were made directly in the economy, 338 million pounds were as an indirect impact on the economy, and 506 pounds were as a direct impact due to employee contributions in the economies.

Employment and GDP

It is estimated that the airport provided a sustained employment of 27,000 people in 2013 due to the Expo activities and for every job that is supported in the UK, empirical evidence shows that 1.9 indirect jobs were supported. This is in addition to the direct and indirect impacts or the immediate term impacts that have been experienced in those areas. Research studies point out that when those airports that serve as hubs to other airports similarly have shown increased activities that have facilitated the exchange of money for goods and services leading to a positive contribution to the GDP of each of the Expo countries. Some of the contributions and impact on the economies have been modeled and the results shown that the transportation of customers to the target destinations bring about an increase in the GDP, productivity gains, cultural exchanges, and an indication of increasing capacity due to the confidence people have in the airports. Typical examples include the GDP contributions to the countries, the creation of thousands of jobs, regional and sub-regional multiplier effects, indirect and induced GDPs. And local multiplier impacts on the economies. The total economic impacts on the economies include employment, tax revenue generation, an increase in wages, strong contributions to the GDP, and the likelihood of the potential for future income generations.

Estimates for 60 years that are based on year to year analysis that has been modeled on the wider economic benefits (WEB) model shows that an increase in productivity has been noted depend on the cautious value that underpins the macroeconomic and microeconomic analysis. In addition, employment has been generally observed to increase because of the Expo activities due to increased capacity and skills.

A research on the economic impact on Brisbane in Australia due to the Expo that occurred between April 30,1988 and October 31, 1988 has shown a significant number of benefits in the twentieth century. From the perspective of the total impact on the interstate overseas traveling, there was an increase in the total number of customers who made interstate and within the state travels. Besides, it has been observed that people spent a lot of time sleeping in the city and that did yield a lot of money as shown in table 3 below.

Visitor Trip
Table 3


It is worth noting from the table that there was 87% of Total and 85% of Net and Net Additional Expo are those people who pay for night time visits. Results from the study show that Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Darling Downs were among those areas that 63.6% of the domestic visits were given to Queensland. The rationale is that lack of consistency across markets based on historical data shows that the impact due to the Expo on Brisbane is huge and that has given rise to the theoretical proposition of the dynamism in the market and the resulting econometric impact on Australia. Using the ‘expand’ and contract model, the results of the economic impact could be continuous in the context of the period when the Expo occurred and after the Expo. Here, it is possible to see the ramifications of both the secondary and primary impacts on the economy besides showing evidence of its diffusion and crowding effects (Erickson 12). On the other hand, at the sub-regional and regional levels, it is evident by taking the agglomeration of those effects on the economy; there was a positive impact on different regions that shared in the Expo activities.

Research on the aggregate economic impact in the economy based on the level of employment shows a positive contribution to employment in all economies that have held the Expo exhibitions. A report by the Business Register and Employment Survey and Experience show an increase in employment occurred in the London airport. As a result of the Annual Monitoring Report, it is evident that there was a direct contribution in those countries of the wages earned. It is estimated that an increase of 38,000 in the wages earned occurred in London airport due to the Expo activities. Other benefits include direct tax benefits that occur due to the taxes levied on the services and products provided at the country and individual levels, the direct supply chain contributions on the local economy of the hosting country, and the results due to the multiplier effects on the economy.


This study will provide the foundation for researchers of various fields, government officers, and the institutions of various kinds interested in hosting Expo exhibitions. The factors analyzed in this study are important to know for those in charge of developing a working strategy for hosting the Expo. In this work, a review of literature on such issues as the potential impact of Expo 2020 on the economic development and growth of Dubai, the influence of this even on different sectors of its economy, and its effects on the welfare of Dubai is present. Being acquainted with this review, readers would become aware of the existing opinions on these issues, which would enrich their perspective on the Expo 2020.

Furthermore, the study demonstrates with excessive evidence that Dubai Expo 2020 will have a strong positive effect on the economic development and growth in general and on such aspects as the Gross National Product, the level of employment, the total income of the transport and tourism sectors, and the development and quality of the infrastructure. The study uses the examples of the countries that have hosted the Expo in previous years and concludes that the decision to hold the Expo has led to positive implications for their economies.

Reading this research will allow the interested individuals to assess the future impact of the event on the economy and well-being of Dubai and predict the implications of this event for the lives of the citizens. Being able to do so will help the people of Dubai to be best prepared to the Expo 2020 and its consequences.

Research Methodology

This study was conducted to determine the economic impact of the Dubai Expo 2020, the history, importance, and impact on the economies of Dubai and those countries that the Expo activities have been held. The research paradigms consisted of the qualitative and quantitative approaches (Bernard and Bernard 11). In both cases, both qualitative data and quantitative data were used and the results were complimented with econometric data that was obtained from archives that provided the descriptions of the economic impacts of the Expo on different countries. However, the archived data was the source of secondary data that formed the backbone of the study to allow for econometric analysis based on different correlation models to show the impact of the Expo on the economies. In theory, the purpose of the research was to gain familiarity with the subject matter, portray the accuracy of the findings, to validate the frequency and occurrence of economic attributes and the key indicators that underpin the drivers of economic growth due to the Expo exhibitions (Silverman 12). In the context of this research, the research methods were divided into three categories, which include those that deal with the collection of data, the statistical methods of data analysis, and the last one being those methods that were used to evaluate the accuracy of the results to validate the findings.

In this case, the research was characterized by scientific principles that allowed for the use of different variables were used in the study that relied on empirical evidence, utilization of those economic concepts that had direct implications on the study, In addition, some probabilistic predictions could be applied in the investigations besides the use of correlation data analysis statics methods.

Descriptive vs. Analytical

Two types of research approaches that include descriptive and analytical methods were evaluated for use in the study to identify the most appropriate approach to use. The rationale of using descriptive statistics was to conduct surveys and fact findings to answer the research questions and address the research objectives. It is imperative to note that in theory the research approach does not provide the researcher with the ability to controls the variables under investigations, which is in tandem with the current research. Here, the researcher was required to report the findings by measuring certain factors such as employment levels, econometric variables and indicators. On the other hand, analytical research is pegged on data that is already available (Gill and Johnson 11). This research relied both on available data and primary data that was collected from a universe of people and economic experts who created a sampling frame from which the sample and sample size were obtained.

A comparative analysis of both the pure and applied research approaches was done to ensure that the right methodology was used to address the research. Table 4 below shows the comparisons that were dome to determine the right research approaches.

Table 4

Pure research Applied research
Report written in technical language Reports done in the common language
Determines to find the rationale on how things happen Emphasizes on determining to explain how things can be changed.
Based on a hypothesis testing while variables not used in the study are taken to be constant Accommodates the notion that variables keep changing with time.
Seeks to generalize findings Inquiry is done on individual cases and lacks the need for generalization of the results
The problem is usually characterized by the discipline under which the investigation is being conducted The interdisciplinary nature of the investigation enables the researcher to solve the problem from different perspectives.

Evidence from table 4 shows that some components of pure research were integrated into the research with some components of the applied research being used The nature of this research does not strongly disseminate between the two approaches and for that reason, it is important to classify this research as an integrated approach that uses both pure and applied research paradigms.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative

In this case, both research paradigms were integrated into the research because of the benefits accruing from the use of both approaches. For instance the correlation aspect if data analysis, despite not having been based on a hypothesis includes some aspects of the qualitative and the quantitative paradigms. Questionnaires that were issued during the research provided the quantitative data and the evaluation of literature review formed part of the qualitative aspects of the study.

Sample Design

This was done in accordance with the sampling theory by evaluating different sampling methods that include random sampling, probabilistic, and stratified sampling strategies. A clear understanding the nature and characteristics of the sample were determined and it was established that it was finite in nature. In theory, the population size, N was used to establish the sample size, n to be used in the investigation.

Sampling Method

Different sampling methods were evaluated and among those were the stratified, random, and probabilistic. In this case, the random sampling strategy was used and the source list was created before the

Data Collection Tools

The questionnaire was considered the most appropriate tool for data collection in this case. It was important to collect the responses using the questionnaire because of its appropriateness for economic data from the sample. Different advantages are associated with the questionnaire for data collection and among them is the ability to collect measured responses that are accurate. In addition, it was possible to enumerate the responses and make them available for numerical statistical analysis.

Validity of the Research Tools

The questionnaire was selected as the most appropriate to use because it could be used to provide numerical data on the subjects being investigated an in accordance with the type of research being conducted.

Data Analysis

Statistical analysis using SPSS was used to provide the statistic values that were used to interpret the economic impact of the Expo on Dubai and other countries that have hosted the Expo activities. Here a regression analysis was deemed to be the most appropriate because some observed economic outcomes in other countries were used to predict the impact of the Dubai Expo 2020 on the economy. The key assumptions that allowed for the use if the regression analysis was reflected on the nature of the variables such as that the variable were continuous in the context that the Expo occurred for a six months in any city it happed and the linearity in their relationships among the variables was evident in the study such as the economic indicators. In this case a scatter plot was plotted to show the linearity of the variables of interest as demonstrated below in figure 2.

Data Analysis

In addition, the independence of the observations was checked using the Durbin-Watson statistic. The Durbin-Watson statistic is an autocorrelation test done and lies between 0 and 4. However, care was taken to ensure that the relationship holds to avoid making false judgment.

Importance of the Expo 2020

Table 1: Residuals statisticsa
Minimum Maximum Mean Std. Deviation N
Predicted Value 1.19 2.57 1.53 .403 19
Residual -1.223 1.450 .000 .659 19
Std. Predicted Value -.834 2.588 .000 1.000 19
Std. Residual -1.694 2.008 .000 .913 19
a. Dependent Variable: Employment level
Table 2: More air travel journeys
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Increase 13 68.4 68.4 68.4
Decrease 6 31.6 31.6 100.0
Total 19 100.0 100.0

The results show that it could spur an increase in the number of passengers using air travel and air travel routes will increase and that will provide an increase in the volume of trade, employment level because of the demand for more services, and that could spur infrastructure development to accommodate air travel. The table shows that 68.4% of the respondents who were asked on whether there could be an increase in the air travel showed a positive response. Perhaps those who did not see any connection did not understand the implications of the air travel and the volume of passengers expected to use the route.

The independent sample test was done to determine the importance of the Dubai Expo 2020. One of the elements that was the infrastructure development and in this case, it is evident that the Expo 2020 will spur investment in infrastructure development. Already, there is an increase in the number of ports under construction besides being an increase in the construction activities in different sectors of the economy. And that is in accordance with the theme of the 2020 Expo of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”

Table 3: Value addition
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Very high 6 31.6 31.6 31.6
High 3 15.8 15.8 47.4
Moderate 7 36.8 36.8 84.2
Low 3 15.8 15.8 100.0
Total 19 100.0 100.0
There is value addition not only on passenger travel and accommodation services, but in the quality of services offered to the customers.
Table 4: Statistics – Increase in passenger traveling
N Valid 19
Missing 0
Mean 81.89
Median 80.00a
Std. Deviation 11.808
Variance 139.433
Skewness .012
Std. Error of Skewness .524
Kurtosis -1.198
Std. Error of Kurtosis 1.014
Range 36
Percentiles 25 74.25b
50 80.00
75 93.00
a. Calculated from grouped data.
b. Percentiles are calculated from grouped data.

An increase in number of passengers using the airlines could be experienced and shows a Std. Error of Kurtosis of 1.014 and a skewness of.012. This statistics were calculated from grouped data to determine the value of the variable on the Dubai Expo 2020.

Table 5: Dependent variable – Employment level
Equation Model Summary Parameter Estimates
R Square F df1 df2 Sig. Constant b1
Linear .024 .411 1 17 .530 2.033 -.283
The independent variable is low-up.


The history of the Expo is demonstrated and discussed in the literature review. A qualitative analysis of the history of the Expo exhibitions shows that different countries have hosted the exhibitions and the first to host an Expo was France in 1851. The list of countries and their related dates for hosting the Expos is summarized in the table below.

Year Country City
1801 France Paris
1802 France Paris
1808 France Paris
1810 France Paris
1819 France Paris
1820-1829 France Paris
1830 Turin Piedmont-Sardinia
1833 India Calcutta
1839 France Paris
1844 France Paris
1849 United Kingdom London
1850 Turin, UK, London, Naples, Cork, Genoa, Munich, Melbourne, and Manchester Respective cities
1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, and 1920. London, France, Respective cities
1950 London, France, Israel, Naples (Italy), Germany Berlin, Naples. Etc.
1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 Barcelona, Shanghai, Italy, Turkey, Kazakhstan Respective Cities
2010 to 2020 Shanghai, Yeosu, Italy, Turkey, Dubai, Copenhagen, Canary Islands, Newcastle, Minnesota Respective cities

It is evident from the table above that the Expo exhibits have occurred in several cities showing that it is a widely accepted and recognized event.

Impact on countries that have hosted Expo exhibitions

Dependent Variable: Employment level
Equation Model Summary Parameter Estimates
R Square F df1 df2 Sig. Constant b1
Linear .024 .411 1 17 .530 2.033 -.283
The independent variable is low-up.

Parameter estimates of the employment level to determine whether there will be an in increase in employment due to the Expo 2020. The linear model shows an increase in the employments level due to a high F value of 0.411. However, the significance is 0.530.

Table 6: Statistics – Tourism
N Valid 19
Missing 0
Mean 8.21
Median 9.08a
Std. Deviation 2.226
Variance 4.953
Skewness -1.141
Std. Error of Skewness .524
Kurtosis .250
Std. Error of Kurtosis 1.014
Range 7
Percentiles 25 6.63b
50 9.08
75 9.88
a. Calculated from grouped data.
b. Percentiles are calculated from grouped data.

The statistics show a mean of 8.21, which can be interpreted to imply that the increase in the number of tourists visiting Dubai could be experienced. In addition, it is worth noting that the Std. Error of Skewness, which is 0.524 with a skewness of 1.14. A negative skew implies an increase in the number of tourists.

Table 7: Increase in GDP
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Increase 1 75.3 75.3 75.3
No increase 4 21.1 21.1 26.3
3 2 10.5 10.5 36.8
4 10 52.6 52.6 89.5
5 2 10.5 10.5 100.0
Total 19 100.0 100.0

There is an increase in the GDP of the countries that have participated in the Expo exhibitions and more particularly those countries that have hosted the Expos.


It is worth noting from the histogram that a right skewed distribution occurs due to the statistical analysis of the data. This shows that there is a positive increase in the GDP of the countries and particularly the towns where the exhibitions were held.

Table 9: Tourism
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid 3 1 5.3 5.3 5.3
4 1 5.3 5.3 10.5
6 3 15.8 15.8 26.3
7 1 5.3 5.3 31.6
8 1 5.3 5.3 36.8
9 4 21.1 21.1 57.9
10 8 42.1 42.1 100.0
Total 19 100.0 100.0

The level and number of tourists visiting the destinations increased and is likely to increase due to the exhibitions.

Table 9: Employment level
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Increased 12 63.2 63.2 63.2
Increased Slightly 4 21.1 21.1 84.2
No Change 3 15.8 15.8 100.0
Total 19 100.0 100.0

The level of employments is likely to increase because of the statistics which shows a 63.2% increase compared with the responses that show a decrease.

Table 10: Statistics – Wages
N Valid 19
Missing 0
Mean 1.16
Median 1.16a
Std. Deviation .375
Variance .140
Skewness 2.041
Std. Error of Skewness .524
Kurtosis 2.410
Std. Error of Kurtosis 1.014
Range 1
Percentiles 25 .b,c
50 1.16
75 1.66
  • Calculated from grouped data.
  • The lower bound of the first interval or the upper bound of the last interval is not known. Some percentiles are undefined.

This result shows that an increase in the wages have a profound impact on the economy of Dubai and any other country that has hosted the expo. In this case, the impact of the Expo is illustrated in the histogram that has an increase in the wages earned. However, the distribution is raised, implying that before the occurrence of the expo, employments levels were high, but an increase could occur because of the expo.

  • Percentiles are calculated from grouped data


Table 11: Tax Revenue
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Increased 9 47.4 47.4 47.4
Slight Change 10 52.6 52.6 100.0
Total 19 100.0 100.0

An increase in revenue will occur because 47.4% of the participants agree that the increase could be significant. The deduction is based on the


Table 12: Increase in Money Supply
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid 1.00 14 73.7 73.7 73.7
2.00 4 21.1 21.1 94.7
21.00 1 5.3 5.3 100.0
Total 19 100.0 100.0


A question posed to the respondents to determine if there is an increase in money supply shows a positive response rate of 73.7%. This is evident of an increase in the activities that lead to an increase in the expenditure of money. Examples include services such as hotel accommodation, traveling, employment, and other services that increase the supply of money in the market.

Table 13: Foreign direct investment
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Increase 13 68.4 68.4 68.4
Decrease 6 31.6 31.6 100.0
Total 19 100.0 100.0


The case for foreign direct investment is shown as one of the positive impacts that have a mean of 1.32 and a standard deviation of.478 using a sample size of 19. In this case, the level of foreign direct investment has a positive impact with a response rate of 68.4% and for those who do not agree, the statistic is 31.6%.

Discussion and Conclusions

The award of the Expo 2020 to Dubai has not been widely researched in literature. The goals of this study was to determine the importance of the Dubai Expo 2020 on various aspects of the economy and underlying factors that must be used to facilitate the changes. Investigations were conducted to determine importance of the Expo 2020, the impact on the economy of Dubai, the history of the Expo exhibitions, and the impact of the Expo exhibitions on various aspects of the economies of those countries that have hosted the Expo exhibitions.

One of the effects that could be associated with the Dubai Expo 2020 is the increase in the employment levels in Dubai and that could have a spill over effect on the different sectors of the economy. It is evident that 63.8% of the people agreed that employment levels are likely to increase and observation and econometric variables show an already positive effect on the levels of employment. Highly skilled people have been employed in the construction sectors, the airlines have increased the number of people employed in the industry because of the increase in air travel and the provision of related services. A mean of 1.53 and standard deviation of 0.777 shows a positive skew that can be interpreted to mean that during the Expo season, the employment level will be very high and will increase to an optimum before reducing. The reason for the reduction in the employment level is the end of the exhibitions where many people will go back to their countries of origin, the shape of the curve shows that a drastic increase in the employment level will be experienced during the Expo and decrease when the Expo ends.

In addition, there will be more traveling especially using air travel because many people prefer air travel to other means of travel especially for the Expo exhibitions. Air travel has special attributes such as being faster. That leads to an increase in the expenditure for infrastructure development. The level of logistic services and the underlying infrastructure contribute to an increase in the number of activities that lead to the development of other support activities. An increase in the number of passengers using the airlines and airline terminal points will also increase the number of passengers and the support services. The spill over effects includes an increase in employment levels, number of visitors, and those who provides support services to the people.

The question on the impact that was caused by the Expo exhibitions on those countries that have hosted the exhibits shows a wide range of far reaching economic, social, and political impacts. Among them include an increase in the level of employment because manpower is needed to provide services to those people, who attend the exhibitions. In addition, it is evident that employment occurred in terms of those people who provide support services and qualified personnel who get involved in the provision of specialized services. This is evident in the 75.3% of the people who provided positive answers to the questions on the impact of the Expo on those countries. The histogram has a near normal distribution with a mean of 3.42 and standard deviation of 1.21. Besides, an increase in wage increases occurred and the histogram shows a slightly negative skew. However, it is evident that the wage levels increase. It is imperative to note that the Dubai Expo 2020 is bound to make the future economy of Dubai very big and make the city the greatest financial hub in the world. That is due to the new infrastructure that spans airports, railways, roads, and ports.


The author of the present research has conducted a comprehensive investigation to determine the importance, impact, history, and economic effects of the expo exhibitions that occurred in various countries and those that are bound to happen with special emphasis on the Dubai Expo 2020. The author has performed a review of relevant literature. The underlying principles of the study were econometric and historical in nature. To answer the research questions, both the qualitative and quantitative research methods were used. The findings show that Dubai Expo 2020 could facilitate the development and implementation of infrastructure projects in the Emirates in land, sea ports, and air travel. Other positive effects were noted in the tourism sector, foreign direct investment, an increase in spending, and an improvement of the GDP of the United Arab Emirates.

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