Expo 2030: 48 Hours To Go for Busan, Riyadh or Rome

Riyadh Expo

EXPO 2030 is a big deal for Saudi Arabia. There are many reasons. Tourism is one, and Vision 2030 is the major driver for the Kingdom to go all out and win.

On June 27 three cities in three very different countries presented their bit to hold World Expo 2030 in a crucial meeting held by the International Bureau of Exhibitions in Paris.

Bids were presented by Rome the capital of Italy, the Saudi capital Riyadh, and Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city.

While it has been mostly quiet in Italy relying on EU support after the June meeting, the real competition seems to be between the cities of Busan, Korea, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

A Rome World Expo may be unfair

| eTurboNews | eTN

The Italian city of Milan in Italy successfully held the WORLD EXPO 2015. Rome would be the second Italian city bitting for a World Expo, which some find unfair.

Team Busan

Busan, Korea is fighting hard, proudly showing the just announced support by its neighbor Japan. South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo took off from Incheon International Airport in Seoul today to fly to Paris.

The PM expressed his optimism prior to leaving. In a statement shared on social media on Sunday, he conveyed that Team Busan’s remarkable and lengthy Expo expedition was now reaching its conclusion.

Expo 2030: 48 Hours To Go for Busan, Riyadh or Rome

“My mind is calm. Since launching a private-public bidding committee on July 8 last year, we have met 3,472 people including heads of state during a 509-day period, flying a distance that would encircle the Earth 495 times,”

The outcome of the vote by the 182 member states of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), will be revealed on Tuesday, November 28.

This decision holds great significance, particularly for Riyadh and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as it presents an opportunity for them to assert their influence on the global stage.

Why EXPO 2030 Riyadh is Most Critical for Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia Envisions Riyadh Expo 2030 As Most Impactful Ever
Saudi Arabia Envisions Riyadh Expo 2030 As Most Impactful Ever

Despite initial concerns regarding Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, the Kingdom’s rapid progress and modernization efforts have garnered attention and diminished earlier criticism.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has strategically utilized the bid as a platform to showcase Saudi Arabia’s ambitious rebranding campaign. He is the man behind the vision that drives anything and everything in Saudi Arabia – Vision 2030.

In his interview with FOX News in September the 38-year-old Crown Prince managed to not only change his own image but also the image of his Kingdom. The median age of the total population in Saudi Arabia is 29 – all ready for a bright future.

World Expo 2030 will be a big deal for young Saudis to share the new Saudi Arabia with the world.

A “Riyadh 2030” exhibit was funded near the Eiffel Tower, which was constructed for the 1889 World’s Fair. Additionally, advertisements appeared on taxis in PariCrown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was in France for a week, engaging in meetings with high-ranking officials.

France endorsed Saudi Arabia’s bid last year, so the Saudis didn’t have to put any effort into winning their support. In the process, France faced criticism from some fellow EU countries.

Montenegro as a candidate to enter the European Union faced the same criticism when publicly endorsing their vote for EXPO 2030 Riyadh, but was rewarded with direct flights from Saudi Arabia currently bringing high-spending tourists from the Kingdom to this picturous adriatic European country.

Tourism relations are a big reason for many countries to establish with Saudi Arabia, and a commitment to a vote for EXPO 2030 Riyadh may have helped.

The first-ever CAIRCOM meeting was held in the Kingdom a little more than a week ago. Heads of State and tourism ministers from numerous independent Caribbean nations had been making history by looking at new sources for visitors, new direct air routes from Saudi Arabia, and investments.

Jamaica’s outspoken minister of tourism Edmund Bartlett saw this development as a diplomatic tourism coup.

Ever since the tourism world went through COVID Saudi Arabia has been taking 911 calls from ministers of tourism around the world. Saudi Arabia opened for Western tourism only in 2019, a year before COVID-19 stopped the world.

When many countries did not know how to get to the next month, one country was doing more than talk. This country was Saudi Arabia.

It was spending serious money to rescue the world travel and tourism industry – and this was not just a first responder mission. When UNWTO member countries needed help in 2021, Saudi Arabia did not hesitate to assist with billions.

This has built many friendships, trust, and appreciation even before World EXPO 2030 came into question.

The Saudi Crown Prince Vision 2030 has been guiding every single project in the kingdom, including dozens or more mega projects related to tourism, such as Neon, the Red Sea Project, and Riyadh Air.

2030 has been the clear focus for Saudi Arabia. This was also the case before a bit for World Expo 2030 was put in. Winning the bit for EXPO 2030 Riyadh would complete this synergy.

EXPO 2030 riyadh

Key developments to expect if Riyadh wins the World Expo 2030 Bid

  1. An Unprecedented Edition creating a unique expo that will be a model for future Expos to come
  2. The first eco-friendly exhibition establishing the highest standards of sustainability
  3. $335 Million will be allocated to support 100+ developing countries that qualify to exhibit.
  4. 27 supporting projects and initiatives of the participating countries are in the pipeline.
  5. 70,000 new hotel rooms are planned to be built in Riyadh, specifically for the expo.
  6. A Collaborative Change Corner featuring an area that will drive innovation throughout KSA 7 7-year journey and beyond.

Saudi Arabia will put up a $7.8 billion budget, it expects 179 countries to exhibit, 40 million visits, and 1 billion metaverse visits.

Candidates in the Expo race have employed a worldwide charm campaign.

They have accorded equal significance to the votes of smaller nations such as the Cook Islands or Lesotho as they do to major countries like the U.S. or China.

In this game of high stakes, Saudi Arabia reportedly went out to every country on the BIE voting list.

“Saudi Arabia emerged victorious in the communication battle, positioning itself as the frontrunner from the start.” This was confirmed by a delegate from a small island Country

On Tuesday each bidder will be given an opportunity to deliver its final presentation at the BIE’s 173rd General Assembly before representatives of the member states vote for the host city by secret ballot.

Either Rome, Busan, or Riyadh will be the winner on Tuesday, November 28.

Cross fingers

Cross fingers was the message received by eTurboNews from a high-level contact in the Ministry of Tourism in Saudi Arabia.

About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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