RIYADH: The Royal Commission for Riyadh City held a press conference with the attendance of members of the Bureau International des Expositions to discuss the tour that took place in Riyadh this week and the Kingdom’s readiness to host the Expo 2030.
Fahd Al-Rasheed, CEO of RCRC, shared with Arab News the advantages of staging the event in the Saudi capital.
“The Kingdom under Vision 2030 is undergoing a massive transformation. The city of Riyadh in itself is also undergoing a massive transformation,” he said, referencing multiple projects underway, including Green Riyadh and the King Salman International Airport. “The city is getting ready to host massive events, (as) we are.”
Speakers at the conference included Dimitri Kerkentzes, BIE secretary-general; Patrick Specht, BIE chairperson of the inquiry mission; who is also president of the BIE administration and budget committee; and Mazen Tammar from RCRC, the senior general manager and project director of Riyadh Expo 2030.
Specht expressed his appreciation to the Kingdom. “I would like to thank our wonderful hosts. It was an inspiring week. It was a really great experience for us all.”
• The World Expo carries the legacy of presenting inventions and discoveries that changed the course of history.
• Expos welcome tens of millions of visitors, allow countries to build extraordinary pavilions, and transform the host city for years to come.
• The first international expo was held in London in 1851, combining art, design, engineering and architecture.
• It introduced the innovations of the first Industrial Revolution, which changed society and shaped the future.
• The most recent World Expo took place in Dubai, the UAE, from Oct. 1 to March 31, 2022, featuring pavilions from 191 countries.
He added that meeting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was a “great honor” and was one of the “highlights” of the mission.
Regarding Expo 2030, he said: “It is an ambitious and interesting project, and we were shown what the country is capable of.”
Kerkentzes described the visit as an “incredible discovery” and praised the Kingdom’s leadership, hospitality, people and ambition.
Al-Rasheed told Arab News that Expo 2030 will be an opportunity for the city and for the Kingdom to showcase the accomplishments of Vision 2030 to the world.
“We will host 40 million visitors, with over 1 billion visitors through the metaverse, so it will be an opportunity for us to showcase what we have achieved but also an opportunity for us to develop new partnerships with the countries that are partaking (in the event).”
The delegation also had a chance to discuss the significance of Riyadh’s future mobility plans, Kerkentzes said during the conference.
“The project is part of a natural expansion of Riyadh,” he said, referencing the new metro line. This “plays an important role in knowing that the infrastructure is something that is…ready to be used.”
The BIE delegation arrived in Riyadh on March 4 and remained for five days to evaluate the city’s candidacy for hosting the Expo 2030.
The visit is a prerequisite for a country’s candidature to be considered for election. When visiting a candidate city, the delegation’s task is to assess each city’s feasibility and viability.
The delegation engaged with members of the government and experts from the Kingdom to evaluate the details of the bid.
Saudi Arabia’s first participation in a World Expo came in 1958 in Brussels, and since then, its vital participation in international and specialized exhibitions has continued.
• If the Kingdom is selected to host Expo 2030, it will take place from Oct. 1, 2030 to April 1, 2031
• 40 million visits are expected to Riyadh Expo 2030.
• Over 220 participants are expected to be present, including international pavilions and organizations and informal participants.
• Riyadh Expo 2030 is planning to embrace the first virtual reality portal, which is expected to have 1 billion visitors.
Riyadh Expo 2030 is proposed to be held under the theme: “The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow.”
The delegation visited the proposed site of the expo and examined a master plan of the 6 million square meter venue, many of the city landmarks, and its future giga-projects. Accordingly, they will create an evaluation report that will be submitted to the BIE executive committee, which will evaluate it in May this year. Later, the country that will host the expo will be announced in November in Paris.
Talks were also held with representatives of the Saudi Public Investment Fund at its head office in the King Abdullah Financial District, during which they touched upon the willingness of the PIF to partner with foreign companies in areas including construction, cultural programming and event management to deliver the best-possible World Expo.
We will host 40 million visitors, with over 1 billion visitors through the metaverse, so it will be an opportunity for us to showcase what we have achieved but also an opportunity for us to develop new partnerships with the countries that are partaking (in the event).
Fahd Al-Rasheed, CEO of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Envoy for Climate Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir also met delegation members and told them that the Kingdom aims to host the first World Expo to go beyond carbon neutrality and achieve a net positive impact.
He said that Expo 2030 would contribute to the Saudi Green Initiative and the sustainability strategy for Riyadh and that everything would be done “to ensure Riyadh Expo 2030 follows the values of environmental protection.”
Saudi Arabia’s goal to host World Expo 2030 goes hand in hand with Saudi Vision 2030, which was unveiled by the crown prince in 2016 and aims, among other things, to diversify the Saudi economy and develop the nation’s tourism and recreation sectors.
Expo 2030 is scheduled to begin on Oct. 1, 2030, and continue until April 1 the following year.
As the crown prince noted in his letter to the BIE: “The 2030 World Expo in Riyadh will coincide with the culmination of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”
If Saudi Arabia is selected to host the event, authorities plan to turn Riyadh and the rest of the country into a world-class venue for global culture, connectivity and climate action.