Saudi Arabia has won the vote to host the World Expo in 2030. Getting 119 votes for its candidacy with Riyadh, the gulf country is the first in 20 years to win with a two-third majority, meaning no second round needs to take place.
From the 182 members of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), 165 total delegates were present at the voting in Paris on Tuesday, 28 November. The other two runners-up, South Korea’s Busan and Italy’s Rome, received 29 and 17 votes respectively.
Saudi Arabia has become an ideal destination for hosting major international events, including the esteemed World Expo.HRH Prince Mohammed Bin Salman
Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed Bin Salman, submitted Saudi Arabia’s application to host the event in October 2021 and has been working towards supporting its candidacy ever since. “The Kingdom’s selection as the host of the World Expo 2030 underlines its influential and leading role and the international confidence it enjoys”, said the Prince.
“We had a fantastic team of ministers going around the world, engaging our counterparts in a very, very active way to understand what they expected, what they were looking for and what we should deliver in order to gain their trust”, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud explained the straightforward win.
Planning to organise the fair from October 2030 until March 2031, the country aims to create “an exceptional global experience in the history of Expos”. The main theme of the expo will be “The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow”, encompassing the sub-topics of: “A Different Tomorrow”, “Climate Action” and “Prosperity for All”.
The 6.6 square kilometre pavilion for the exhibition is being built close to the King Salman International Airport and is designed in a spherical shape to mirror the exhibition’s vision of ensuring equal opportunities for all participants.
In the same context, a landmark will be built at the heart of the main plan for Riyadh Expo 2030, symbolizing ‘Responsibility for Protecting the Planet.’ It will be based on 195 columns representing the number of countries participating in the exhibition. Surrounding this landmark will be three pavilions, each representing one of the sub-themes of the fair.
Held since 1851, the World Expos, officially known as International Registered Exhibitions, are a global gathering of nations dedicated to finding solutions to pressing challenges. They constitute a large-scale platform for education and progress, presenting the latest achievements and technologies, promoting international cooperation in economic development, trade, arts and culture, and disseminating science and technology. Over the years, besides achievements in different fields, the World Expos have left behind now world-renowned landmarks, like Paris’ Eiffel Tower, Brussels’ Atomium or Seattle’s Space Needle.
The year 2030 will also coincide with the culmination of the Saudi Vision 2030 programme, a project started by Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, in an attempt to diversify the country’s economy from oil. Aiming to attract 100 million visitors by the end of 2030, Saudi Arabia plans to invest $1 trillion in its tourism industry. Among other projects that are part of Vision 2030, the country is developing what it calls “the city of the future”, complete with a 170-km-long line of skyscrapers, along with several mega projects that will be transforming Riyadh by the end of the decade.