PARIS: Riyadh will host the World Expo 2030 after defeating challenges from South Korea and Italy for the prestigious event.
The Saudi capital was picked by a majority of 119 out of 165 votes by the member states of the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions.
The secret ballot was carried out using electronic voting, and Riyadh was confirmed as successor host to Osaka in 2025.
During the BIE event in the French capital, candidates presented their final Expo progress reports to member states and government-appointed delegates in an 11th-hour attempt to win votes.
The event is expected to represent the culmination of Vision 2030, and showcase the Kingdom’s achievements, with a particular focus on hospitality, tourism, culture.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman used a visit to Paris in June to showcase the Kingdom’s bid for the Expo, attending an exhibition held by the Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh that showcased Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage and cultural depth.
The bid began to draw support from high-profile French backers, with influential French senator Natalie Goulet saying that holding the expo in the Saudi capital would be “the culmination of Vision 2030.”
Arab News backed the Expo bid through a #WhyRiyadh campaign launched on Sept. 23 – the Saudi National Day.
Public figures from across various industries backed the campaign, including Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubair, Riyadh Mayor Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Ayyaf, and Frédéric Bedin, president of public relations agency Hopscotch.
Other high-profile supporters included the secretary-general of Alwaleed Philanthropy and UN Human Settlements Program’s Goodwill Ambassador, Princess Lamia bint Majed, the vice president of the Saudi Arabia Boxing Federation Rasha Al-Khamism, and Rob Sobhani, adjunct professor at Georgetown University.
Nonetheless, the campaign had started earlier, with the announcement of Paris’s support of Riyadh Expo 2030, reiterated during the crown prince’s visit to the French capital in June 2023, and his participation in the first Summit for Financial pact.