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Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh secures rights to World Expo 2030

Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh secures rights to World Expo 2030
November 29, 2023

The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the sanctioning body for world expositions, has today announced that the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh will host World Expo 2030.

Riyadh triumphed in the first round of voting after claiming 119 votes from member nations, followed by the South Korean city of Busan with 29 votes and the Italian capital of Rome, which secured the remaining 17 votes.

The latest in a series of global events heading to Saudi Arabia, including the 2034 FIFA World Cup, the win will be a significant boost for Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious Vision 2030 program, which aims to diversify the country's economy away from a dependency on oil and gas.

Its date of 2030 will be symbolic as it coincides with the key milestone in the Vision 2030 program.

The Riyadh bid had enlisted football star Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays for the capital’s Al Nassr club, to persuade BIE members in a video shown before the vote.

Commenting on the successful bid, Saudi Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud stated “we had a fantastic team of ministers going around the world, engaging our counterparts in a very, very active way to understand what they expected, what they were looking for and what we should deliver in order to gain their trust.”

Prince Mohammed bin Salman extended his congratulations to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on the occasion of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia winning the bid to host the World Expo 2030 in Riyadh.

He explained “the Kingdom’s selection as the host of the World Expo 2030 underlines its influential and leading role, and the international confidence it enjoys.

“Saudi Arabia has become an ideal destination for hosting major international events, including the esteemed World Expo.”

The Crown Prince stressed Riyadh’s readiness to welcome the world at Expo 2030, and the fact that it will fulfil the obligations stipulated in the bid with the aim of achieving the main theme of the expo, The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow, and its sub-topics: A Different Tomorrow, Climate Action and Prosperity for All.

The US$7.8 billion masterplan for the event sets out a plan for an exhibition near Riyadh’s King Salman International Airport, which is currently being developed, connecting to one of the three exhibition entrances and the modern road network.

The anticipated 226 exhibition pavilions have been designed in a spherical shape, with an equator line running through them with a theme that reflects the ancient urban style, history, culture and nature of Riyadh city.

The World Expo - which traces its history back to the 1851 Great Exhibition in London and the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris that saw the construction of the Eiffel Tower - is a showcase event attracting millions of visitors that aims to respond to the specific challenges of the current time.

Riyadh has proposed to host the event from October 2030 to March 2031.

World Expo 2025 is being held in the Japanese city of Osaka while its 2027 edition is in the Serbian capital of Belgrade.

Image: Concept for the 2030 World Expo. Credit: Riyadh World Expo bid.

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