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Dubai Expo 2020 in the spotlight at Host Cities Summit

HE Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre, has praised the efforts of all those involved in helping to bring Expo 2020 to Dubai.

Al Marri, who was on the Expo bid team’s Higher Committee,was speaking at theHost Cities summit which is taking place at the Park Hyatt Dubaifrom 4 to 5 December. Bringing together leading figures in the events industry, the summit aims to help ambitious nations learn from established experts about hosting the world’s biggest events.

He said: “This winning bid showed us that when everyone in the whole of the UAE works together, both in the public and private sector, we can achieve anything.

“From small families to big businesses – everyone made a real effort for Expo 2020. The bid process was a two-year journey and, although 2020 may seem some way off, the reality is that it is just around the corner and following the celebrations it is now time to prepare to welcome the world.”

With more than 200 events now held in Dubai every year, H.E Helal Saeed Al Marri also spoke about the role they play in the development of a city.

He added: “Events are very important to us, not only with the local benefits they bring, but also as they show other countries what we are doing here in Dubai. Events entertain, inspire and stimulate ideas, creativity and the economy. They enrich the lives of the local population and act as a catalyst for the growth of tourism.

“What we are aiming for in Dubai is to be the most successful events city in the world.”

Also on the Dubai Events Strategy panel was Boutros Boutros, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand and Salah Tahlak, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships’ Senior Vice President.

Boutros Boutros said: “When it comes to putting on events it is not just about the hosting of them, you must make them work throughout the year and they must at some point be self-sufficient.”

The Host Cities Summit opened with a panel discussion that focused on sport, featuring several key figures from the industry. Tessa Jowell, who led the London 2012 Olympics bid team, spoke of the need for emerging nations to be given the chance to host major events. She was joined by, among others, Moon Donghoo, from the South Korea Winter Games Committee, and H.E Shaima Al Zarooni, a senior executive board member on the UAE National Olympic Committee.

The afternoon sessions at Host Cities also looked at sport but also included a discussion on the benefits of cultural and business events to a city.