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Wed 27 Nov 2013 01:59 PM

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Expo 2020 live results: News, voting and reaction

Latest: Dubai wins 52% of Round Two. Brazil's Sao Paulo and Turkey's İzmir are both out. Round Three of voting starts

Expo 2020 live results: News, voting and reaction

08:55pm: That’s it! Game over! WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!!!!

Our congrats to everyone – and we mean everyone – in Dubai. This is a victory for the people.

We hope you enjoyed our coverage (judging by Twitter not everyone did…but that’s ok). We’re off to celebrate too. Thank you…and good night!!!!

08:40pm: WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elation at the Capital Club!!

"Go Dubai, Go Dubai" is the chant as the DJ
plays "one more time" over the speakers.

"We got it, we got it" others yell out.

People are hugged, congratulated each other and revelled in
the moment.

The celebrations are now in full swing.

"We're going to be busy," one businessman
remarks to his friend.

Sultan A. Alshaali, CEO of Alshaali Group, says
"Dubai has always been an international city but now it's going to be an
ultra-fast international city".

"No matter what speed we work on, and Dubai works at
a very fast pace, it's going to be double," he said.

It seems the real work is only just starting.

08:35pm: WE WON WE WON WE WON!!!!!

Its all over Dubai will host Expo 2020. And the Burj Khalifa is just about to light up – check it now.

Brilliant stuff, our congrats to everyone involved – and that means just about everyone in Dubai.

The messages of congratulations are flooding in. Dubai received 116 votes in the third and final round.


08:15pm: I’m through with waiting. I’m going to call this – DUBAI HAS WON! WE DID IT! WE DID IT!

08:00pm: If you want my advice, get in your car and head to the Burj Khalifa for the big fireworks display. This is all over. We are the champions. I think.

07:50pm: So this is what it means – Dubai now has 52 percent of the vote. The next round is just Russia's Ekaterinburg and Dubai, but Russia will need to get EVERY Turkish vote AND steal some of Dubai’s. THAT ISN”T GOING TO HAPPEN. DUBAI HAS SURELY WON THIS!!!

07:45pm: Round Two Results – Dubai has 87 votes. Turkey's İzmir is out. Russia's Ekaterinburg got 52. This is going to Round 3. Nearly there.

07:35pm: I guess all those celebs who backed Dubai must be feeling pleased with themselves. Let’s not underestimate their role in this. Dubai.TV founder Sheeraz Hasan has been relentlessly pushing Dubai’s case via celebrities and so far has managed 200 million social media impressions. That tells you just how much global interest and support there has been for Dubai.

We are waiting for Round Two results (and my pizza) which could come soon. Again, a growing feeling that Dubai could have this all done and dusted in the second round. The way I see it, for either Russia or Turkey to win, they need to get almost every single other vote going. I think Spurs winning the Premier League is more likely.

07:25pm: Quite a few people are trying to be cautious here saying its early days. I don’t agree! This is in the bag guys! In fact, I’ve just had a statement from Phil Grucci, the boss of a huge fireworks company, who proudly tells me he has been chosen to put on the huge fireworks display at the Burj Khalifa AND World Islands. “We are already in Dubai to prepare for the record-breaking fireworks extravaganza planned for New Year’s Eve, so we were able to quickly get into production mode for the Expo 2020 announcement tonight at Burj Khalifa and the World Islands. Fortunately, our advanced technological capabilities are able to match the vision and success of this great city,” he says.

So he thinks we’ve won as well. Good man!

07:20pm: So to win this outright Dubai will need 110 votes in Round Two – it already has 77. It is quite possible that a lot of the Turkish and Russian backers will now sway to Dubai given the lead it has, which would quite easily tip it over the mark to clear victory. Voting is underway in Round Two. And the pizzas are on the way…

At the Capital Club, Beatrice Thomas says the first round result was met with a few cheers... I guess the quiet confidence means people are waiting for the final count! Mimoun Assraoui, of RIF Trust, says with or without the win Dubai is reinventing itself all the time. The city will continue to grow and the union between the emirates, evident since the  property crisis, has only been strengthened in the bid. "US and Europe are supporting Dubai so hopefully it will win," he predicts.

07:15pm: I’m going to stick my neck out here and suggest that Dubai could win this outright in Round Two. Surely some of the people who voted for Turkey and Russia will start to think about changing to Dubai given it is so far ahead. Like me they probably want to go home. Just to summarise, Dubai has a massive lead with 47 percent of the vote, and Brazil's São Paulo is out. By the way, our prediction of 68 votes for Dubai in Round One was pretty damn good heh!

07:10pm: So Dubai has a massive 47% of the vote. I think Dubai has this wrapped up given that both Russia and Turkey seem very close to each other with quite low numbers. If Brazil did only get 13, then chances are Dubai could get those. This could all be over in Round Two.

07:05pm: RESULT!!! Dubai has won the first round – Sao Paulo is out. We think Dubai got 77 votes.

We are hearing Dubai 77, Russia's Ekaterinburg 39, Turkey's İzmir 33, Brazil's São Paulo 13

If this is correct, this is Dubai’s night. 77 is confirmed so it looks very, very good for Dubai right now.



...continued on next page

07:00pm: We’re hearing everyone has now voted. Over at the Capital Club, Beatrice Thomas reports that the anxious wait is too much for some, with complimentary 10 minute back massages also on to relieve any tension. Everyone is now in full festivity mode as the drinks flow and oysters and smoked salmon are served to the elite elite they didn’t get invited to Paris.

6.55pm: Apparently you don’t have to vote for one of the four bidders. You can also say “Don’t know.” Why would you do that?! Imagine flying all the way from Papua New Guinea to say “I don’t have a clue.” Anyway, Dubai Media Office suggests we really will get a result in the next few minutes. The general vibe in Paris is that Dubai and Izmir are leading the first round, but that’s just speculation. The general vibe is also that Brazil will be out in Round One. So far, the best information we have is that 131 countries have voted out of 168. Put the kettle on.

6.30pm: Where is the Round One result! I am being assured it is a matter of minutes away. But I am also hearing that only just over 70 countries have actually cast their vote. Don’t they just press a button? At this rate, those Burj Khalifa fireworks will be going off at 2am next Sunday. Again, we are hearing that every member has to walk into a booth and cast their vote.

It just gets worse. Now we are hearing that it will be 45 MINUTES for the first result!!! (Incidentally, nobody at Arabian Business gets paid overtime).

6.15pm: So we were wrong. It’s 6.15pm and still no result from Round One. Why? Some people are suggesting the numbers are so close there is some kind of recount going on. I don’t think so because the voting is electronic. Unlike FIFA, you can’t make it up. But we also hear that the 4 bidders are being told the result first before its made public. So if you see Sheikh Ahmed doing a moonwalk, you can assume things have gone well.

6.10pm: By our calculations, the results from the first round will be out in a few minutes. In case you missed it, here’s what we think will happen.

Round 1: Turkey 72, Dubai 68, Russia 20, Brazil 8  - Brazil Out

Round 2: Dubai 74, Turkey 73, Russia 21 – Russia Out

Round 3: Dubai 92, Turkey 76  – DUBAI WINS!!!

We will find out soon just how badly wrong we are.

5.50pm: So it looks like the voting has now started for round one. We wait and wait, nobody seems to know when exactly the numbers will be made public. We are hearing this first result will come through around 6.10pm. If any country gets 66 percent of the vote in round one, they win. We don’t think that will happen, but we’ll see. So fingers crossed.

Over at the Capital Club, my colleague Beatrice Thomas reports that a steady stream of business figures are making their way into the exclusive venue to watch the live count, with a win crucial to many in their respective industries.

The club is decorated with blue and white balloons at the entrance - the colours of the Expo bid - with champagne already flowing as people settle into their lounge chairs for the count.

Big flat screens have been at up in all of the club's lavish rooms. With jazz humming in the background, there's a buzz in the air and quiet optimism evident as people animatedly discuss Dubai's bid and the excitement leading up to tonight.


...continued on next page

In the VIP section, Maher Kheder, of the Al Fahim Group, says Dubai put together an excellent, well thought out bid document. He says a win would be "fantastic" for a number of industries - hospitality, fashion and properties.

Waleed Albanawi, of JISR, says a win would bring enormous benefits to the entire region. He says it makes sense for Dubai to win given the expected growth in the wider Asian region.

This view was shared by Guy Guillemard, group business development advisor at ENSHAA, who says Dubai's proximity to Africa, which has the greatest development potential, is another bonus. "However, the experience of watching World Cup and Olympic cases makes me very nervous about the outcome," he admits.

Lawyer Mohammad Nasser tells me that they have been getting inquiries from the construction industry, exhibition managers about Dubai - all, he says, based on the belief that Dubai will win expo2020. "We have a lot of hope," he says. Also, just caught up with Meydan IMAX theatre CEO Goulam-Raza Amarsy, who says "we totally deserve it". "Dubai is the most structured city of the four that are bidding," he says.

That’s all very interesting, but where is the result?!!! 6.10pm as I said, that’s what we are hearing. The committee are busy voting.

5.20pm: At this point I think we should all give a huge shout of appreciation to the team behind the Dubai bid. As mentioned earlier, Reem Al Hashimi made a cracking speech. But I think the biggest credit goes to Emirates Airline chairman Sheikh Ahmed.  I have met him many times over the years, and had the pleasure of flying on the first A380 flight from Hamburg to Dubai with him.  Not only is he a great leader and a great businessman, but, as any journalist will tell you, one of the kindest and nicest people you could ever interview.  And a cracking sense of humour to go with it.  So congrats to HH for all his great work…we stand behind you 100 percent.

5.15pm: There are 15 MINUTES TO GO before voting starts! I should clarify that the earlier post was purely our predictions. Some people of twitter are getting a bit carried away and suggesting this is the result. It isn’t. Just to be absolutely clear, we don’t know the results yet, nobody does.

We are waiting like everyone else. I have even cancelled my ballet class for 7pm.

Many of you have been emailing your past Expo experiences and they are all very positive. Christian Tollschein tells us: “ I have been at the Expo 2000 in Hannover in Germany. I was working out of

Austria back then and took the opportunity to stop in Hannover when returning from a business trip from Hamburg. And indeed it was very fascinating seeing all the different countries exhibiting, some focusing on traditions, some on tourism, some on technology, but everyone worth a close look.”

Couldn’t agree more...every Expo is brilliant....but Dubai will be the best ever.  Come on Dubai!!!


...continued on next page

4.55pm: Right, it is getting very close and time we stick our necks out and make our predictions. These are completely unscientific and based entirely on guesses. But for what it’s worth... based on 168 votes available…

Round 1: Turkey 72, Dubai 68, Russia 20, Brazil 8  - Brazil Out

Round 2: Dubai 74, Turkey 73, Russia 21 – Russia Out

Round 3: Dubai 92, Turkey 76  – DUBAI WINS!!!

So there you have it. We think Turkey will edge the first round, but Dubai will take the votes from Brazil and Russia, ending up with a clear victory.


4.30pm:  If everything runs to plan,  in just 60 minutes we will have the first round of voting. Things to seem to be moving slowly in Paris, with the presentations all running late, so I wouldn’t be too confident of the vote being on time. The official Dubai Expo 2020 website was earlier showing a live stream from Dubai One TV of the events in Paris – but Dubai One decided to cut back to its usual programmes a while ago. Which means that if you logged onto the website, you could watch the Adam Sandler movie “50 First Dates.”

Getting back to some serious stuff, if we do win,  there is no shortage of experts warning that Dubai needs to manage any potential boom very carefully. You can read what these party poopers think here.

Now, have any of our readers been to past Expos? If you have, email me your experiences at If you are not rude and abusive, I might even post them. I actually went to the Brisbane Expo back in 1988. I had a great time – lots of nice restaurants and roller coasters.  I would post a picture but I was 22 years old and a hippie, and a huge Jimmy Osmond fan at the time, so best not.  Incidentally, the Osmonds (minus Donny) are currently performing at the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre, which is on Highway 57 in Missouri.  If you happen to be in that part of the world, I would recommend going.


4.00pm: Less than 2 hrs to go before the first round of voting gets underway and the nerves are starting to jangle in Paris. I just spoke to a couple of officials there. One told me “it looks good.” But another told me “everyone is saying it looks good for them”.

This is surely about the time when those chaps from Qatar come in with a late bid?

I think at 5.30pm when the first round of voting is done, we will get a pretty clear idea of how this will all pan out.

Aside from the hope of a day off tomorrow, there are some very good and serious reasons as to how exactly Expo 2020 will benefit Dubai, especially in key sectors such aviation, transport, tourism and infrastructure.  My colleague Daniel Shane, who in the office is known as “Expo Dan”, has written a fabulous piece about this. You can read it here.

I mentioned earlier what a fine speech Reem Al Hashimi gave earlier, but she isn’t the only UAE star behind the bid.

My colleague Beatrice Thomas, who is known around the office as, erm, Beatrice, has written a very good piece on who the Dubai Expo team is: You can read it here.


...continued on next page

3.40pm:  I don’t want to harp on too much about Russia’s bid…but I will. Russia Today TV hasn’t updated its website with any reports on the Expo since March.  Even then it said said 94% of local residents in Yekaterinburg know the city is bidding for the rights, but only 78% support the idea. So 22% don’t??  Withdraw now!

Contrast this to Dubai, where everyone has really rallied behind this bid. My 1.5 year old daughter can now say four things: “Mummy.”  “Daddy.”  “Expo”. And “Arsenal will win the Premiership without any doubt whatsoever, with Man City failing to make top four and Spurs getting relegated.”

There are of course plenty of rumours sweeping Dubai about exactly what will happen if we win. The biggest one is that Thursday will be declared a public holiday. We have no idea if this is true but hope so.

What we do know for sure is that the Burj Khalifa is all set for a massive fireworks display. My sources reckon this will be around 10pm – don’t worry, the Dubai government will text everyone as to what time. I hear there may also be a huge display at the Burj Al Arab. Beyond that, there could well be some surprises lined up for the next few days, but understandably nobody wants to hype this up too much in case Turkey wins. Turkey? Turkey?? Withdraw now!


3.10pm: The other cities are now doing their presentations. Do we care? Not really. Let’s be honest, wouldn’t it be nice if they all made a mess of it.  Especially Yekaterinburg.  I don’t know about you, but I just wouldn’t feel safe going there.  Did you know that in the early hours of the morning of July 17, 1918, Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, and their children Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatyana, Maria, Anastasia, and Tsarevich Alexey were murdered by the Bolsheviks at the Ipatiev House in this city.

As recently as 1977, the Ipatiev House was demolished by order of Boris Yeltsin, to prevent it from being used as a rallying location for monarchists.

And now they want Expo? Come off it. Withdraw now!

Sao Paulo? I went there in 2002. Got pick pocketed twice. Withdraw now!

Turkey? Don’t even get me started. Just withdraw now!

Whoever wins, don’t underestimate the importance of Expo, as it has been the spark for many great inventions. I already mentioned Ketchup. Add to that the fax machine, the zipper, and the first time everyone got excited about something called “electricity,” back in 1893. 

If you want to find out more about all these amazing inventions from past Expos, click here.


2.37pm: Okay it’s time to look at all the bids a little more. And let’s be clear now – we are going to be unashamedly patriotic about this, so if you are Turkish, Russian or Brazilian, hard cheese.

First Dubai. The Theme is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”  Dubai is looking at 25 million visitors, with the main site 438 hectares right next to the new Al Maktoum International Airport. 

Our verdict: What’s great about this bid is it isn’t just a fancy exhibition – Dubai will try and find solutions to three big issues,  mobility, sustainability and opportunity.  And it can be done – did you know that Heinz Tomato Ketchup was “discovered” at a previous Expo?

Come on everyone, this is the best city, the best team and the best bid. If there is any fairness in the world, Dubai will win this hands down. We are the champions!

Second Sao Paulo in Brazil. The theme is “Power of Diversity, Harmony for Growth.”  They have 500 hectares in the region of Pirituba, which is somewhere near Sao Paulo.  They reckon they will get 30 million visitors. Our verdict: Withdraw now! You’ve got the World Cup, you’ve got the Olympics, you shouldn’t even be bidding. Withdraw now!

Third: Yekaterinburg, Russia. Theme: “The Global Mind.” It’s a 500 hectares site in the Ural region, and they plan for just 12 million visitors.

Our verdict: You’ve also got the World Cup! And you’ve got enough problems getting that together given all the violence we read about. Nobody wants to go there, which is why you are only predicting 12 million visitors. Withdraw now!

Fourth: Izmir, Turkey. The theme is “New Routes to a Better World/Health For All.” Sounds to us like a dodgy Brotherhood of Man album. But joking aside, their idea of creating a health hub is smart, and we like what is says about health being a basic human right.

Our verdict: Hmmm..we can see some votes going here, but come on Turkey, you have enough on your plate with the EU. And what about all those riots in the summer? Withdraw now!


...continued on next page

2.16pm: More videos. This time the former President of Nigeria tells us why Dubai should win. He does go on a bit. Back to Reem - she finishes off with a cracking few lines, saying "We are humbled by this powerful and decisive moment."

And that concludes the final Dubai presentation. You want my opinion? I think the speech was brilliant, she couldn't have done a better job. But I do wish we heard more from her and less from the fancy videos. Just a thought...


2.10pm: And now another video. We've been told that each presentation can only be 20 minutes, and Dubai has chosen to use much of that time (if it sticks to it) with videos. Don't get me wrong, these are great videos, but you do wonder if everyone else will go for this ploy. The brilliant Reem is back on. I think we need more of her.


2.05pm (UAE Time)

Right the presentations have now started and UAE is first up with Reem Al Hashimi, UAE Minister of State, speaking. She says this is "the most important speech of my life."

And what a good job she does, speaking in both English and French. A very long video is now being shown, which goes down pretty well with the audience.


2:00pm: So here we are. Are you sitting comfortably? Are you ready for what could be one of the greatest ever days in Dubai's already fabulous short history? Are you ready to party like 2020?

We sure are, because finally, finally....the time has come as the winning bid for Expo 2020 is announced. Oh yes folks, no more gossiping, debating, arguing. None of that matters. The only thing that matters is how the 167 members of the voting committee will roll their dice.

If you believe the experts, then Dubai is the front runner. Everyone believes it has the best bid. But then there is Turkey - yesterday it claimed it already had 60 votes (35 percent) in the bag. Let's not forget the Russians, who have sent a heavyweight team into Paris. They have a habit of always getting their way. And of course Brazil. Actually forget Brazil. This is probably going to come down to UAE, Turkey and Russia.

Who is going to win? We are going to stick our necks out here with a prediction. Dubai will win this - but only just - from Turkey and Russia. We are also going to predict this vote will be so close, Turkey could actually win the first round. How do we know this? Complete guess.

Check back here throughout the afternoon and evening for regular updates on the latest developments in Paris.

Anyway, here's what to expect today (based on UAE timings).


1:30pm: Four competing cities - Turkey's İzmir, Russia's Ekaterinburg, Brazil's São Paulo and Dubai - to make their final 20 minute presentation to the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) in Paris.

5:30pm: Voting begins in the first of three rounds

8:30pm: Announcement of the winner of the host city for World Expo 2020

In this first round, the city with the least number of votes will be eliminated and a second and third vote will be held, with the last city eliminated each time until one winner is remaining.

Each round is expected to take about one hour.

8:30pm: Announcement of the winner of the host city for World Expo 2020.

Manzoor926 5 years ago

Best of Luck to Dubai and we pray for that

xander 5 years ago

Lets go DUBAI! but Arabian Business seriously, enough with the "Withdraw now!" dribble, if I see any more I'm going to find another life feed to watch instead!

Ali Akbar Esmail 5 years ago

My Vote is for Dubai and wishing best of Luck to the United Arab Government for doing such a great Job.

sohrab khan 5 years ago

My Vote of course for UAE... In Sha Allah Dubai will win....

Manoj Kumar 5 years ago

i am thinking in +ve- dubai is the winner in expo 2020

Bibash Bahulayan 5 years ago

Best of luck Dubai ...we pray for that ............ Sure Dubai is the winner....

SALLY 5 years ago

What a start for an article that insulting other cities! Dubai has been always respecting others! Defiantly this is not acceptable!

& for sure my vote goes to Dubai!

Nida 5 years ago

While we all wish Dubai to win, it should win by VOTES and not because the other countries WITHRAW from the race. Being patriotic is one thing, and flinging negative light on other participants is another.

Dubai surely doesn't want to portray that kind of a mentality, it is after all a multi-cultural city and does not wish bad for others in the race. Dubai will win (inshallah) on its CREDITS and POSITIVES and not on the negatives of other participants highlighted quite rudely in this live update. This is definitely not being patriotic but being a sadist.

2fillsworth 5 years ago

i agree with xander, its great to be patriotic and supportive but lets not get carried away with the withdraw now rubbish and be humble.

Bill Cowen 5 years ago

Good Luck Dubai, from a n expat of long ago. And, I agree with 'xander', enough with the 'Withdraw Now' drivel !