Busan, expo, Riyadh – The Korea Times

Bomi Yoon

Combined efforts needed to win World Expo bid

With less than a month left before the selection of the host city for the World Expo 2030, Korea’s Busan, one of the bidding cities, is making its last efforts to win the global event. The host city will be chosen by the member countries of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) during a general meeting to be held on Nov. 28 in Paris. Busan is fiercely competing with Riyadh of Saudi Arabia and distantly chased by Rome of Italy.

The Yoon Suk Yeol government has been eager to host the Expo as it will provide precious opportunities to highlight Korea’s stellar modern development and prestige to the world. Furthermore, the event will offer tremendous economic effects with a far-reaching impact on Korea’s industrial, cultural and tourism sectors. For this, the nation’s relevant authorities, businesses and citizens have been endeavoring to capture the hosting rights. Now is the time to double down on efforts until the final moment.

The Yoon administration has been touting the 2030 Busan Expo as a major state agenda, exerting diverse efforts toward that end, initiated by President Yoon and Prime Minister Han Duck-soo. Many institutes estimate the possible hosting of the Busan expo will have an economic effect of more than 60 trillion won ($44.3 billion) and create jobs for more than 500,000 people.

Hosting the Expo, which will last more than six months, will be significant for Korea, particularly because it will facilitate the nation’s bid to take the lead in discussing pending and crucial global issues such as the climate crisis, digital transformation and technological discrepancies.

On Sunday, the prime minister embarked on a tour of five countries in two continents – Malawi, Togo and Cameroon in Africa and Norway and Finland in Europe – to seek their support for Busan’s bid. Major businesses are also busy promoting a supportive mood. On Saturday, LG Electronics installed a large PR structure at the plaza in front of the Centre Pompidou in Paris which receives more than 50,000 visitors daily. SK Group, for its part, is planning to engage in bidding activities in many countries in Latin America and Europe until the BIE meeting.

Lotte Group has also been active since it established a task force team under the leadership of its chairman Shin Dong-bin. Busan Metropolitan City plans to host the 25th Busan Marathon Contest as the final effort to show the hopes of its residents to host the 2030 event. The political sector should also combine efforts to win the hosting right regardless of their own interests. Riyadh has been leading the race so far as it threw its hat into the ring ahead of Busan and has aggressively enticed member nations with vast reserves of oil money.

Yet analysts say Busan caught up with Riyadh to make the competition almost neck-and-neck. The winner will likely be determined through a second vote as none of the three major candidates is likely to win the required two-thirds of the votes in the preliminary contest. Experts say Busan could win should it be able to absorb the pro-Rome votes in the final contest.

Relevant authorities should map out strategic and detailed tactics based on a precise assessment of the current situation to ensure victory. The uncertainty surrounding the 2030 event has further expanded, prompted by the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. Many member countries are believed to remain undecided. It is high time the Yoon government, Busan Metropolitan City, businesses and the Korean people join forces to win the vote for Busan to host the World Expo.

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