United Arab Emirates: Unveiling Dubai Expo 2020

Last Updated: 16 October 2019
Article by STA Law Firm
Most Read Contributor in United Arab Emirates, October 2019

Introduction to Expo 2020

 “Our region deserves the chance to organize this great world exhibition. Our country is ready to host it. We will keep our promise in connecting great minds to build a better future and we will organize the best event in the history of the World Expo.” – HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Prior to the Expo 2020 vote being declared, some extremely memorable quotes rightly captured the quintessence of Dubai’s bid. Consequently, the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in its general assembly hosted on 27 November 2013 awarded Dubai as the host of Expo 2020. The Director of Global Foresight and Innovation at Arup, Chris Luebkeman, rightly stated that “seven years is a short time but I can’t imagine a better place to make that drive real.”

Being the first World Expo to be held in the region starting from the 20th of October, 2020, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is welcoming the world for six months to celebrate culture, innovation and collaboration whilst aiming to leave a lasting and meaningful legacy. The mammoth trade fair shall be open for business against the backdrop of the scintillating skyscrapers and supermalls that Dubai is irrefutably renowned for. The Expo 2020 will be the largest event that has ever been staged in the Arab world and is set to welcome approximately 190 participant countries.

It is pertinent to note that each World Expo held till date is based on a theme. For example, “Feeding the Planet, Energy of Life” was the theme of Milan Expo 2015; “Man and His World” was the theme of Montreal Expo 67. The theme chosen by Dubai for the Expo 2020 is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” Under this theme, millions of visitors from across the globe will experience hospitality at its finest, as well as the UAE’s values of tolerance, cooperation and inclusion. Through this theme, Expo 2020 envisions to build partnerships as well as inspire ideas that forge the world of tomorrow. There are subthemes which form the key pillars:

  1. Opportunity: Dubai, through the theme of Expo 2020, firmly believes that we possess the power to shape our future. Therefore, Expo 2020’s goal is to unlock this potential in various ways, including supporting solutions to an array of social problems through Expo’s Live Programme, as well as introducing the visitors to new ideas to inspire them to act.
  2. Mobility: Indubitably, with the smarter movement of ideas, goods and knowledge, a whole new world of prospects and possibility unfolds. The Expo 2020 enlightens how this has assisted us to venture new frontiers, and how humanity is continually making grander leaps than ever through digital connectivity.
  3. Sustainability: There is a growing need to live in balance with the world that we inhabit. The Expo 2020 embraces alternative sources of water, food and renewable energy, whilst emboldening us to reevaluate the ways in which we can preserve the planet.

Why is the World Expo important?

Notably, the World Expo is a global destination for people from across the world to share their ideas, encourage collaboration, showcase innovation and rejoice human ingenuity. Some of the most dynamic inventions that were brought first to this world at an expo include the typewriter in Expo 1876 held in Philadelphia, the telegraph in Expo 1851 in  London, the diesel engine in Expo 1900 in Paris, etc. Most recently, inventions like solar trees as well as energy-saving elevators were showcased in Expo 2015 in Milan. Therefore, being the largest global gathering, the World Expo brings together the greatest mind from across the world to discuss how we can all shape the future, which is the very theme for Dubai Expo 2020. Below, we shall explore how World Expo will be beneficial for Dubai.

Benefits of Dubai Expo 2020

There are a number of changes that have been put in place to essentially embrace this event which includes new visa rules, infrastructure, business incentives, as well as various economy-boosting measures. Ever since the announcement of Dubai to hold the Expo 2020, there has been an exponential rise in the business setup in Dubai as well as company formation in the UAE. Further, Dubai’s strategic location between the developing and developed nations is an advantage in regard to wider influx of expected visitors, not only during but also after the event. Let us explore how Expo 2020 boosts diverse industries in Dubai.

Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure

There is not even an iota of doubt that the event will have a noteworthy impact on these industries. Dubai is expected to host over 170 million visitors from across the globe. While Dubai has an array of different ranges of hotels to suit every visitor’s convenience, the Emirate has witnessed the construction of various high rises which further indicates the creation of jobs. Amongst various researches and surveys, Dubai is expected to receive over USD 60 billion worth of purchases, most of which includes the culinary sector; which has resulted in investors establishing various retail restaurants and chains in the region.

Construction and Real Estate Industry

In addition to the residents that Dubai already births, the construction industry has seen a rise in demand in the number of properties to meet the needs of the expected visitors. Further, for the construction and infrastructure alone, the government has awarded contracts up to a tune of AED 12 billion. Incentive offering, guaranteed periods of rental income as well as lower service charge has encouraged potential buyers to invest in Dubai.

Aviation and Transport

A sum of approximately AED 28.6 billion has been apportioned by the UAE government for the expansion of DXB (Dubai International Airport). Furthermore, the Road and Transports Authority (RTA) has also invested an estimated USD 1.36 billion for the expansion of Dubai’s Metro Red Line.

Financial Services Industry

The banking sector resourcefully supports the UAE well and additionally, is positioned and prepared for the anticipated visit. The UAE’s Central Bank’s tailored approach to Expo 2020 has put in place flexible regulations to assist the fiscal stability of investors who, in the wake of upcoming Expo 2020, are already tapping into an array of opportunities presented. For example, the combat on large financial exposure as well as the mortgage cap which has been introduced, curbs all forms of excessive spend. There various European and United States banks that have set up branches in the UAE.

Residency Rules

The government’s introduction of the long term residency visa is a step towards ensuring the tourists who are interested in UAE residency are able to process the same at ease, before as well as after the event. There have been a plethora of professionals and entrepreneurs enquiring with STA’s immigration lawyers in the UAE with regards to the possibility of obtaining the long term visa for their intended service sector. Further, the substantial turnaround in all the industries has been brimming with job opportunities in the UAE, especially in the construction, hospitality and the real estate sector.

Legal Advisory Services

Considering the rise in investments in the region since the Expo win, there is consequently a high demand for legal advisory services to secure oneself from business pitfalls. As one of the leading law firm in Dubai, we receive countless enquiries with regards to laws, rules and regulations which applies to individual entrepreneurs that earn large, medium as well as small enterprises. Furthermore, our lawyers in Dubai guide the clients against future disputes that a prudent businessman should understand at length, whilst carrying out comprehensive due diligence prior to committing to a transaction.


Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau along with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (RTA) have mutually agreed to enhance the cooperation in various areas including organizing the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems and devices, coupled with the encouraging the participation of government entities in all programs that are launched by the center to host the Dubai Expo 2020. It is essential that these parties enhance their cooperation to ensure coordination with all authorized media entities in the Expo, essentially to identify the frequency requirements of the local and international media agencies that are participating in the exhibition, as well as to keep in place a mechanism for the submission of forms and applications for spectrum permits. Furthermore, it would also result in the cooperation of customs clearance to make sure the entry of all devices to the UAE is in the appropriate manner.

Brand Protection Guidelines

There is no doubt that entities and individuals in the UAE and across the globe would be eager to use the intellectual properties of Dubai Expo 2020 in order to boost their business activities by linking their services and products to Expo, consequently raising their own profile in the process.

For the Expo’s commercial partners, the apex beneficial asset is the intellectual property of Expo 2020 including the brand. Apart from the participant countries, below is the list of commercial partners that will be authorized to associate themselves with Dubai Expo 2020:

  • Official Partners;
  • Official Premier Partners;
  • Official Ticket Resellers;
  • Official Supporters like the government agencies who have signed a contract with the event;
  • Official Licensees and Retailers;
  • Official Providers; and
  • Official Media Partners.

Why is it necessary to protect the brand?

Without the financial support of various official partnerships, the Expo 2020 would not have been possible. The official partnerships are substantially devalued when businesses without the authority link themselves to the Expo 2020. These partnerships upon signing agreements with Dubai Expo 2020 commit to supporting and believing in the values that are embedded in the core of the brand, whilst working to bring Expo’s vision, values and ideals to life.

Ambush Marketing

The act of creating a deceiving, authorized or false association with an event, with or without the intention, is referred to as ambush marketing. As an illustration, if a particular website uses the logo of Expo 2020 to enhance their services or products, it unjustifiably benefits from such association without actually paying for the privilege. This is ambush marketing. As another example, consider this situation: Supposedly the official media broadcast right is given to XYZ Media Company, though another Media Company ABC puts up billboards and advertisements outside the venue of the event; it is likely that a person would directly relate ABC to the event, even though XYZ is the official partner, thereby increasing the viewership of ABC where it enriches unethically. Hence, the Expo Brand Team is vigorously engaged in numerous monitoring activities in order to combat and prevent ambush marketing, and have asked the public to report any illegal or suspicious activity. Our media lawyers in the UAE are actively engaged in assisting client who is victims of ambush marketing and are glad to provide further tidings on the same.

The Expo 2020 allows the editorial use of its protected marks. For example, when journalists provide more information or reports about the events in an article; on the condition that the statements are factual statements that are not made gratuitously for the purpose of marketing or linking to the commercial entity.


Tawassul, which means ‘connect’ in Arabic, is the operational tool that connects various media organizations to important updates and information on elements including licenses and permits, media accreditation, content assets like photographs, press releases, audio and video, electronic media kit etc. The Global Media Briefing is set to take place from the 20th to 22nd of October 2019, which is open to all genuine media organizations that wish to cover Expo 2020 to submit their interest through Media Accreditation Expression of Interest (Tawassul). This opens a window for all media organisations to receive a technical briefing to understand Expo 2020’s plan for media to attend as well as cover the event.


Most certainly, Expo 2020 will cement Dubai’s reputation and status as the epitome of business hubs in the world. Staging such a mega event as the World Expo has most definitely boosted the international profiles and economies of its host cities for over decades; and soon, it is Dubai’s chance to step into the spotlight. When highlighting what the legacy of the event will be, it is pertinent to note that more than 80 per cent of the venue is premeditated in a way which can be repurposed and reused in the legacy phase.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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