How did Saudi Arabia win hosting Expo 2030?


By Alireza Bahrami

TEHRAN: The new host of the world expo became the rich country that plans to show off in all international events in its development plan.

Before hosting the 2034 World Cup, Saudi Arabia was able to host Expo 2030.

In the more than 170-year history of Expo, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) became the second Muslim country to host Expo 2020 in Dubai.

Kazakhstan, which hosted the 2017 Astana Expo and became the first Muslim country to host the Expo, hosted a mid-term expo, which is almost half of a world expo in terms of scope, duration and number of participants.

The UAE was also the first country to host the Expo in the Middle East. Before that, Asian countries such as China, Japan and South Korea hosted expos in East Asia. Due to the new corona virus epidemic, Dubai had to hold the Expo with a year delay in 2021. With Riyadh winning the Expo 2030, the Expo will be held twice in the Middle East in less than 10 years.

The Saudis did not have a difficult way to get this hosting. The host of each edition of the Expo seven years before is determined in a competitive process just like the Olympic Games or the World Cup. About 10 years ago, the UAE had little chance in the competition with Russia, Brazil, and Turkey, and there were three voting stages.

However, it was not the case for Saudi Arabia as it won from the first round.

Considering the recent history of the UAE in hosting the Expo 2030 and Qatar in hosting the 2022 World Cup, another global event in the region was no longer considered out of mind.

The social development process of Saudi Arabia, with the role of its crown prince in the past few years, has also contributed to hosting international events.

Luck was on Saudi Arabia’s side. The war between Russia and Ukraine caused two of the four Saudi rivals, Russia and Ukraine, to withdraw from the competition due to the emergency conditions of the war.

Both countries were candidates for hosting Expo 2030. The remaining two countries, Italy (Rome) and South Korea (Busan) have hosted an expo in recent years.

Italy hosted the Expo in Milan in 2015 and South Korea in Yoesu in 2012.

Besides, the change of government in South Korea caused the new government to start its campaigns to win this competition very late.

At the BIE (Bureau of International Exhibitions) meeting, Saudi Arabia was chosen as the host of Expo 2030 (Riyadh)

Under the principle of one country, one vote, Saudi Arabia was elected with 119 votes in the first round, as it obtained the required two-thirds majority. The score ensured they did not have to compete in two more voting stages.

South Korea – 29 votes

Italy – 17 votes

Saudi Arabia – 119 votes

Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai will be held in Japan.

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