Riyadh, the vibrant capital of Saudi Arabia, is set to host the prestigious World Expo 2030 after overcoming stiff competition from South Korea and Italy. In a landmark decision, the Bureau International des Expositions, based in Paris, awarded Riyadh the honour with a resounding majority of 119 out of 165 votes, marking a significant milestone for the Kingdom. This victory is not merely a hosting opportunity but a platform to showcase the culmination of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030.
Road to Victory
The selection process involved a secret ballot conducted through electronic voting, and Riyadh’s success was solidified as the confirmed successor to Osaka in 2025. In a last-minute effort to win votes, candidates presented their final Expo progress reports during the BIE event in Paris, highlighting the Kingdom’s achievements with a particular emphasis on hospitality, tourism, and culture.
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Crowning Achievement of Vision 2030
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman strategically utilised a visit to Paris in June to showcase the Kingdom’s bid for the Expo. The bid garnered support from influential figures like French senator Natalie Goulet, who hailed it as “the culmination of Vision 2030.” The event is expected to be a testament to Saudi Arabia’s commitment to collaboration on a global scale.
Global Support and Financial Commitment
Expressing gratitude for the support received, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan announced a commitment to collaborate with nations worldwide. The Kingdom pledged substantial financial support, offering facilities packages amounting to $348 million for a pool of 100 eligible countries, demonstrating its dedication to making Expo 2030 a collaborative success.
Arab News played a pivotal role in supporting the Expo bid through the #WhyRiyadh campaign, launched on Saudi National Day. The campaign aims not only to secure the Expo but also to transform Riyadh into one of the 100 best livable cities globally by increasing green coverage and enhancing public spaces.
Delivering Expo 2030 entails massive infrastructure developments in Riyadh, including a 70,000-room increase in hotel capacity. The venue will be easily accessible through a newly developed metro connecting Expo City to a reconstructed King Salman Airport, set to be one of the world’s largest aviation hubs. Riyadh Air, the Kingdom’s new airline, will further boost accessibility with flights to 100 countries by 2025.
Visionary Plans Unveiled
In a symposium held in Paris, the Royal Commission revealed visionary plans for Expo 2030, showcasing a colour-coded map with pavilions, performance venues, support facilities, and an exhibition village. Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al-Saud emphasised that choosing Saudi Arabia means choosing the world, underlining the Kingdom’s commitment to global collaboration and inclusivity.
A City Transformed
Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of the Diriyah Group, expressed the transformative vision for Riyadh by 2030, comparing it to the achievements of Singapore in 60 years and the Emiratis in 30. The Crown Prince aims to achieve similar milestones in just 15 years, with Diriyah becoming a global attraction.
Riyadh’s successful bid to host the World Expo 2030 is a testament to Saudi Arabia’s commitment to global collaboration and the realisation of its ambitious Vision 2030. As the city undergoes a remarkable transformation, Expo 2030 promises to be a celebration of innovation, culture, and progress, inviting the world to witness the Kingdom’s journey into the future.