The South Korean President, Yoon Suk Yeol, extended his felicitations to Saudi Arabia for securing the bid to host the much-anticipated World Expo 2030.
The announcement came in the wake of a decisive vote by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in which Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, emerged victorious. The cities of Busan in South Korea and Rome in Italy, although strong contenders, were unable to match the allure of Riyadh.
A Diplomatic Triumph for Saudi Arabia
The selection of Riyadh as the venue for the World Expo 2030 is a significant diplomatic victory for Saudi Arabia, following the successful hosting of the soccer World Cup last year by Qatar, another Gulf nation. This victory is particularly meaningful for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman whose ambitious Vision 2030 program aims to diversify Saudi Arabia's oil-dependent economy. The coincidence of the Expo with the culmination of this program in 2030 offers an unparalleled global platform for the Kingdom to showcase its transformation.
Decisive Victory for Riyadh
The voting results of the 182-member BIE revealed a clear preference for Riyadh, which secured 119 votes. In contrast, Busan and Rome received 29 and 17 votes, respectively. The decisive win negated the need for a second round of voting, as per BIE rules. The vote was preceded by an intense campaign by Riyadh, including a persuasive video featuring soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, which appears to have resonated with the BIE members.
Implications of Hosting the World Expo
The World Expo, a large-scale global exhibition held every five years, is renowned for attracting millions of visitors and multibillion-dollar investments. By securing the right to host the Expo, Saudi Arabia not only gains global recognition but also a unique opportunity to build bridges between governments, international organizations, corporations, and citizens. The Expo, scheduled to take place from October 2030 to March 2031, is themed 'The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow.'