Dubai: Dubai has won the right to host World Expo 2020, becoming the first Middle Eastern city to organise the prestigious exposition in its more than 150-year history and generate about USD 23 billion income for the Gulf emirate.
Fireworks exploded from the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, here soon after Dubai beat the challenge from Izmir, Turkey, Sao Paulo, Brazil and Yekaterinburg, Russia after three rounds of voting by delegates of the 168- nation Bureau International des Expositions in Paris.
Dubai bagged 116 votes beating its closest competitor Ekaterinaburg of Russia which bagged 47 votes in the final round of voting last night. Izmir of Turkey and Sao Paolo of Brazil were eliminated in earlier rounds.
The United Arab Emirates started off its presentations by pitching Dubai as a futuristic, glitzy city.
Emirates minister Reem Al Hashimi said Dubai was a city "capable of hosting the world" and promised visitors an "unforgettable experience" if it won the bid.
With a smartly calibrated blueprint, the UAE launched the country's campaign to host the 2020 World EXPO two years ago.
In essence, the third largest global non-commercial event, following only the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup in terms of size and significance, is a win-win situation for the emirate.
"Dubai will breathe new life into the ancient role of the Middle East as a melting pot for cultures and creativity," UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said.
After the results were announced, hundreds of people took to the streets and drove through the streets of the city.
"Our goal is to build a better future for the region's youth. The UAE will achieve it through collaboration and inspiration at Expo 2020," Sheikh Mohammed, ruler of Dubai, tweeted after the announcement.
The last World EXPO was held between May 1, 2010, and October 31, 2010 in Shanghai, China.
The World EXPO is held every five years and attracts millions of visitors to the host city during its six-month duration.
More than displaying major technological novelties, the EXPOs role is oriented toward interpreting the collective challenges that humanity is faced with in current conditions and environments.
Dubai authorities expect the Expo 2020 will generate USD 23 billion between 2015 and 2021, and estimate it will cost USD 8.4 billion to organise, media reports said.
Ahead of the announcement, giant screens were set up and countdown for the mega announcement was on.