From the folks who brought the world the 24-karat gold iPad, the tallest skyscraper and the first government program that pays citizens to
Dubai was selected Wednesday by the 168-nation International Expositions Bureau in Paris to host the event, the first Middle Eastern state to stage the world's fair in its 150-year history.
Jubilant rulers and residents of the tiny Arab emirate set off fireworks, illuminated the 2,717-foot
"We are immensely proud to have been awarded the honor of hosting World Expo 2020," Expo committee chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum pronounced in a statement from Paris carried by the United Arab Emirates 24/7 news site under a headline declaring: "Dubai Wins by Far."
"It was a hard-fought victory; we were up against strong competitors, to whom we offer our full respect and sincere wishes," the Dubai Expo 2020 team said via
Dubai expects to spend $8.4 billion to stage the six-month event, and officials have projected that the massive building project and tourist influx through 2021 will generate $23 billion, committee officials told the Paris organizers.
Dubai's per capita GDP is already the 15th highest in the world at $50,000 a year, according to the
The Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, opened to opulent fanfare in 2010. A Dubai hotel, the Burj Al Arab, also made headlines this year when it presented each guest with a 24-karat gold iPad upon check-in at the luxury accommodation, where rooms start at $1,525 a night.
But the government spends relatively little on public health services, and a World Health Organization report this year, "The Weight of Affluence," said half of Dubai's 5.5 million people are
That prompted the wealthy emirate government to offer citizens about $20 per pound of lost weight and a chance to win a $5,000 grand prize in the slimming contest.