The official visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to France, accompanied by a delegation of ministers and other officials, presents an exceptional opportunity to provide additional support for Riyadh’s bid to host the “Expo 2030” exhibition.
The General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions, founded in 1928 and comprising 170 members, is scheduled to convene next Tuesday and Wednesday to hear the official nominations of four countries vying to host the world fair.
Alongside Saudi Arabia, these countries include Italy, South Korea, and Ukraine.
While Saudi Arabia nominates Riyadh to host the exhibition, Italy puts forward Rome, and South Korea proposes the city of Busan. On the other hand, Ukraine presents the coastal city of Odessa, which has been intermittently targeted by Russian missile strikes since February 2022.
In recent months, delegations from the Bureau International des Expositions have visited nominated countries to understand their goals, aspirations, and capabilities in organizing this type of exhibition, which requires significant financial investments and infrastructure capable of handling the pressures posed by millions of visitors attending the event, held once every five years.
The mission also considers ancillary activities, such as tourism and cultural events, which provide additional value to the exhibition and sometimes serve as determining factors in favor of one nomination over another.
Since 2000, three European cities have stood out as hosts for the international exhibition. The first was Hanover, Germany in 2000, followed by Zaragoza, Spain in 2008, and Milan, Italy in 2015. The remaining two exhibitions took place in Aichi, Japan in 2005, and Yeosu, South Korea in 2012.
According to one of the organization’s officials and experts, this pattern “can work in favor of Saudi Arabia’s nomination and can serve as a strong argument and motivation for choosing Riyadh.”
“It is because these exhibitions are called ‘international’ as they represent all countries, and it would be unfair to deprive a capital city like Riyadh of this opportunity while giving it again to Italy or South Korea in a very short timeframe.”
It goes without saying that international exhibitions yield high political, social, tourist, economic, cultural, and urban returns.
On one hand, they turn the host country into a global focal point, while on the other hand, they contribute to the modernization and completion of infrastructure, creating new structures to meet the housing, transportation, and comfort needs of visitors.
In the case of Saudi Arabia, its ongoing process of openness and its desire to showcase its historical treasures and artifacts find a major catalyst in hosting the international exhibition.