By Courtney Trenwith
Boris Johnson offers UK expertise following English capital's successful Olympics
London Mayor Boris Johnson has backed Dubai’s 2020 World Expo bid and offered the UK capital’s expertise following its successful Olympics last year.
“We’re very keen to offer whatever advice we can about Dubai’s expo 2020 bid and we’re supportive of that,” he said during his visit to the UAE this week.
“Given the very dense, intimate, intense relationship that we have with Dubai, it would be good news.
“There are something like 4,000 British companies here now and that’s possibly proof that this isn’t a one-way street, there is massive interaction now between Britain and the UAE. I’m sure they [the British companies] will be out in force, flying the [UAE] flag.”
However, Johnson refrained from saying he would lobby the 161 member countries who will vote to choose who hosts the 2020 Expo.
“If [I was] in a lift with another voting member, I’d certainly [tell them to] support the UAE, yes,” he said.
Former US president Bill Clinton also recently backed Dubai to be successful with its bid, saying it was an inspiration for the region.
"Places that have come back from the tough economic crisis the best and the quickest are the ones which have an operative model which creates cooperation across all sectors of society, races, religions, and ethnic groups, where people find a way to celebrate and are proud of their differences and they work together in shared responsibility," he said during a speech to American University in Dubai students.
"That's what Dubai and the UAE represent and I think you are in a strong position to win the bid for Expo 2020 because Dubai's model of shared prosperity is more important today than ever and an inspiration to many countries in the Middle East."
Dubai is competing against Ayutthaya (Thailand), Ekaterinburg (Russia), Izmir (Turkey), and Sao Paulo (Brazil) to host the expo.
The emirate’s vision for hosting the event was submitted in December to the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the body in charge of overseeing the bidding, selection and organisation of World Expos.
The winner will be announced after a vote in November.
Dubai intends to create Dubai Trade Centre - Jebel Ali to host the expo.
The masterplan, which was designed by HOK, Populus and Arup, contains an open plaza at the centre called Al Wasl (the connection) and three main zones branches out from the plaza to symbolise the bid's sub themes of sustainability, mobility and opportunity.
Inspired by traditional Arab souks, the site integrates the UAE's architectural heritage with the requirements of the Expo to foster the fundamental principles of innovation, partnership and collaboration between participants and visitors, a government statement released at the time said.
Johnson said that like the London Olympics, the World Expo would bring great attention and accolades to Dubai, as well as help foster jobs and development.
“If you do something like that, it brings together people [and] ... the eyes of the world are on your city and it’s a huge chance to show-off what you’ve got,” he said.
“My general view is that if you get eyes on the shop window that’s very good for your city.
“People are always negative about these things ... I disagree, I think it would be very good for Dubai.”
Considering what Dubai has achieved in terms of creating a business tourist haven, aptly supported by its award winning airline (Emirates) .....and a socially friendly and safe environment....I think they have shown ample readiness for the world expo 2020