Sorry to burst Dubai's bubble, but here’s why Izmir deserves Expo 2020

Published November 27th, 2013 - 15:52 GMT

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izmir turkey
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Image 1 of 7: Izmir combines nature, history and modern architecture -- Dubai has the last in spades! It’s location as an international port city has made it home to the Persians, Romans, and Alexander the Great. Almost 3,500 years of recorded urban history, Izmir leaves Dubai-- a child of the 1970’s oil boom -- flailing as 3500 years trumps 30.

izmir health care hub
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Image 1 of 7: Izmir's Expo 2020 campaign is focused on attainable health care, while Dubai's is just focused on…luxury and glitter? Izmir strives to be a medical tourism hub, running on the expo strap-line “New Routes to a Better World/ Health for All”, and in contrast Dubai’s financial market focus seems shallow.

dubai bubble
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Image 1 of 7: A lost bid could be a blessing in disguise for Dubai: Today's real estate frenzy is only fueling worries of a repeat of 2009’s real estate crash, and many experts are worried that an Expo 2020 might add fuel to the fire of an overheating property market. Busting a potential property bubble may just make bursting Dubai dreamers' bubble worth it.

izmir underground metro
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Image 1 of 7: Izmir has better public transport: A win is estimated to spike the host’s visitors to 30 million. And as much as Dubai is making great strides with its metro, taxis are still necessary city-crossing. Izmir’s, and Turkey’s public transport in general, have a more robust proven track record.

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Image 1 of 7: Dubai’s dark side reared its ugly head in multiple human rights reports, most notoriously in a May 2013 strike that exposed the modern-servitude arrangements surrounding the working conditions of migrant workers. But, perhaps being outdone by their World Cup neighbors, Qatar, spared Dubai the big stink.

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Image 1 of 7: Water-works: With fake water-wonders including The Dubai fountain and the largest artificial lagoon in the world in the pipe-line, Dubai is wasting the most precious resource. Instead of attempting to “fabricate” nature, Izmir keeps sustaining it, with a naturally preserved lagoon as proposed expo site, relying on solar and geothermal energies.

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Image 1 of 7: Eat your heart out Dubai! You can find every dish you dream of in Dubai, from Indian curries to Gordon Ramsey’s Hell Kitchen gourmet. But why go cosmopolitan when you can stay authentic? Izmir's cuisine has been affected by its multicultural history, resulting in a large variety of food mixing Med, Turkish, and there's even aSephardic twist!

We recognize all the great strides and unmatched accomplishments that Dubai has made, but being the party-poopers that we are at Al-Bawaba, we think there is another city out there that deserves to walk away with the bid.

The high-profile supporters of Dubai’s bid have been endless -- from David Cameron to Bill Gates to...yes, no one other than Lindsay Lohan. But let's not succumb to mainstream media, and let us dare to go with the underdog. And as much as we are mad about Dubai, and would be delighted to see an Arab city win, we should still recognize the potential of other regional rivals to host the Expo 2020.

And whether it wins or not, Dubai will still be the great city that everyone covets a trip to or a property in. But we think that Izmir's bid is in need of a bigger boost. Call us jealous haters or Debbie downers, but here’s why we think Dubai shouldn’t win and Turkey's Izmir should stand a fighting chance!


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