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Expo 2020 to 'bring back business tourism' to Dubai, says Dubai Properties

Dubai’s Expo 2020 could lead to a boost in the city’s business tourism, which has seen a slowdown in recent years, according to the vice president of hospitality asset management at Dubai Properties Group.

Speaking to Arabian Business at the Gulf and Indian Ocean Hotel Investors’ Summit (GIOHIS), Stuart Etherington said the six-month event is expected to attract business tourists.

“Dubai has seen an increase in leisure [tourism] and a decrease in business tourism, so Expo 2020 might actually turn that around and we might see an increase in business tourism again,” he said.

Moreover, responding to claims that the city’s hospitality industry will experience a slowdown following Expo 2020 due to hotel oversupply, Etherington said the expo will not necessarily have a significant impact on the market.

“Expo is expo. Milan, for example, [saw] very little change pre and post expo. If we took the same business model and we weren’t overly greedy, and we still continued to sell as we normally would in our high season, then why would expo make that big a difference?” he said.

In August 2018, Hilton’s president of global development, architecture, design and construction said he does not expect a drop in market activity following Expo 2020.

Ian Carter said tourists will continue to fly to the city following the six-month event, which is due to attract an expected 25 million visitors.

“When you look at Expo, it is another great marquee event that Dubai has attracted due to airlift from Emirates. You have a great destination here with a lot of attractions, so I don’t see a dip in [the hospitality market] after Expo 2020,” he said.

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