Can Expo 2020 accommodate 20-25 million people?

Posted: 08-Aug-18 09:44

As Dubai prepares for Expo2020, which will open in October of 2020, analysts are questioning whether the city will be able to accommodate the 25 million visitors it expects to host for the event. The city has experienced tremendous growth in the hospitality industry in recent years, and more properties are under development, but no one is sure at this point whether it will be completed in time for the event.

Can Expo 2020 accommodate 20-25 million people?

Dubai’s Expo 2020 will happen in just over two years, opening in October of 2020. The Expo expects to welcome some 25 million visitors between October of 2020 and April of 2021, with 70% of those visitors coming from outside Dubai.

But does Dubai have room for that many people?

Currently, there has been an oversupply in the property market, and prices have been going down; and according to Propertyfinder, there will be an approximate 180,000 properties available in the coming years, up until 2020.

According to Propertyfinder, a little more than 21,000 units were handed over in Dubai in 2017, and more than 10,400 units have been handed over so far this year.

“There are 40,000 units scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018. However, the materialization rate (the number that will actually occupy them) will be much less, probably around 15% to 20%, which has been the consistent rate over the last few years.

“There are more than 70,000 units scheduled to be completed in 2019 and 35,000 units scheduled to be completed in 2020.”

Lynnette Abad, Director of Research and Data at Propertyfinder, told Khaleej Times.

"A report by Hoteliers said: Airbnb is planning to capitalize on Expo2020.”

That is big time news, knowing that, for six months (ie, during Expo2020), Dubai will be home to some 20 million visitors who would consider staying in Dubai for business, event purposes, tourism and/or employment reasons.

When Dubai residents open up their doors to this traffic, there will be plenty more room available than what is being built now. The hospitality sector has been booming and will also capitalize on the new event. Dubai’s hotel inventory stood at 107,431 rooms at the end of 2017, according to local reports.

Finally, according to Colliers International’s forecast, there will be a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for hotel supply, which is expected to increase by 10% in the UAE. That amounts to an increase of approximately 150,000 rooms in 2020.

But the question remains: will the bulk of those upcoming property projects be completed by 2020?

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