Saudi Arabia has beaten Italy and South Korea in the final rounds of bidding for World Expo 2030.
Capital city Riyadh won by 119 votes, far ahead of fellow contenders Busan which earned 29 votes and Rome 17. The votes were cast by 182 members of the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions (BIE).
The World Expo, held once every five years, attracts intense competition, as the event brings immense economic benefits to the host city.
According to BIE, the UAE, which hosted World Expo 2020 in Dubai, is expected to continue to receive AED154.9 billion (US$42.2 billion) in gross value added (GVA) to its economy up to 2042.
The 2025 edition of World Expo will be held in Osaka, Japan.
According to The Korea Times, South Korea will now consider the possibility of bidding for World Expo 2035.
The World Expo 2030 win joins a growing line-up of major events bound for Saudi Arabia, including 2029 Asian winter games, which will be hosted in Trojena, a planned mountain resort development, and the 2034 World Cup.
The destination recently delivered on several high-profile meetings such as UNWTO’s World Tourism Day 2023 in September, the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in October, and the Eighth Extraordinary Islamic Summit in November.
Saudi Arabia has been building up its presence in the global events arena. In an earlier interview with TTG Asia, Amjad Shacker, CEO, Saudi Conventions and Exhibitions General Authority, said the destination has all the ready hardware and is now investing in brand equity promotions for the local meetings and events industry, relevant education to build a pool of events professionals, and training packages for business in the events ecosystem.