Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh was chosen yesterday to host the 2030 World Expo, beating out South Korean port city Busan and Rome for an event expected to draw millions of visitors.
Riyadh was picked by a majority of 119 out of 165 votes by the member states of the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions, or BIE.
The vote has been held behind closed doors in Issy-les-Moulineaux, a southwestern suburb of the French capital. The result was greeted with cheers by the Saudi delegation. Busan got 29 votes and Rome 17.
With the stakes high, each city has escalated its campaign efforts, showcasing unique visions and ambitious promises to secure the rights to the globally prestigious event.
The Saudi plan includes a major public transit network and a futuristic space meant to show “the vision of the country to pioneer a sustainable future for cities and their communities.”
Saudi Arabia has mounted a significant marketing campaign, featuring a ‘Riyadh 2030’ exhibit near the Eiffel Tower and extensive advertising across Paris. The Saudi bid, seeking to diversify the kingdom’s economy and boost its international stature, has received support from French President Emmanuel Macron, as indicated in a July statement from the Elysee Palace.