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Expo 2020 Dubai Through PESTEL and Marketing Analysis


In the contemporary world, there is a variety of events intended to show different organizations’ improvements and innovations in distinct areas of activity. It is possible to state that World Expos is essentially a large exhibition for countries to display the last achievements and advancements made. This event happens once per five years, and the primary requirement for a winner is to propose a meaningful and universal theme that applies to the entire humanity (Oxtoby, 2021); (Expo 2020 Dubai, 2019).

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Expo 2020 Dubai is the World Expo organized by the United Arab Emirates. It will be conducted in its capital and take place from October 2021 to 31 March 2022 (192 countries to take part in Expo 2020, 2019; About World Expos, 2019). The main site will be a 438-hectare location between the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi (Oxtoby, 2021; Thrillark, 2019). Many expectations for the improvements of the world’s future are related to the event.

It is possible to provide a comprehensive insight into the principles and provisions of the Expo 2020 Dubai by outlining its main theme. The statement the event is focused on is “connecting minds and creating the future,” and it implies the intention to cooperate and collectively contribute to a better tomorrow to benefit the future generations (Thrillark, 2019, para. 3). The three districts, or sub-themes, which are “Opportunity,” “Mobility,” and “Sustainability,” reflect the distinct areas of particular attention of the Expo2020Dubai (Mobility district, 2019; Opportunity district, 2019; Sustainability district, 2019).

This Expo is expected to be the most inclusive and multinational Expo ever held. 192 countries are announced to participate in Expo 2020 Dubai, with 25 million tourists projected to be attracted to visit the pavilions (Hashmi and Rose, 2021); (192 countries to take part in Expo 2020, 2019, para. 1). With respect to the pandemic, even in the view of the complexity of public events conducting, and regarding the topic of the paper, a variety of benefits for Dubai are forecasted in advance to be present and will be discussed in detail in the further analysis. The expected from the event pros to Dubai include but are not limited to the attraction of foreign investment, increased speed of economic building, development of infrastructure, improvement of tourism area, and creation of bounds with other organizations and cities (Haneef, Ansari and Bhavani, 2019).

This work will examine the World Expo 2020 Dubai through a PESTEL analysis to evaluate the current and future attractiveness of the particular market segment and bring conclusions about the significant issues and potential benefits. In addition, the analysis based on the B2C perspective will be provided, applying the marketing mix and STP process to evaluate the company’s performance. A general examination of the mentioned frameworks will be done, and recommendations about the improvements needed will be outlined.

Expo 2020 Dubai PESTLE Analysis

Political Factors

PESTLE analysis is a framework to analyze six key factors, which are political, economic, sociological, technological, legal, and environmental, that influence an organization from the outside. The mentioned external impacts are vital to consider to contribute to strategic decision-making. With respect to political factors, such as the stability of international bounds that significantly influence the event, the substantial issue can be outlined. Despite claiming Expo to be “apolitical” and even inviting Iran, which is not welcomed in UAE, some other countries participation is being discussed. Qatar has been being boycotted over a political dispute since 2017 that might have an unpredictable effect on the event (Gambrell, 2019). Simultaneously, the participation of Israel, which is not recognized by Gulf Arab states, might also be an issue that can potentially deteriorate the event through violation of its principles mentioned above.

In addition, the real estate market currently perceives a value drop that results in the emptiness of many apartments and office places (Gambrell, 2019). The necessity of their incorporation may push the government to adjust a commission to manage the problem, which may result in lower profitability of the project and higher than expected maintenance costs. However, the government launched a coordinated strategy among the stakeholders to support the private sector. It will result in the adoption of a global commitment to the green economy (Sanjay, 2019, p. 384). Therefore, there are two political issues, which are the stability of international bonds and the drop in the real estate market’s value, which influenced the event, and one advantage, which is the strategy established by the government.

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Economic Factors

Despite the negative forecasts regarding the real estate market, the external environment is being prepared for the projected number of tourists that will directly and positively influence the number of visitors able to attend the event. With respect to the hospitality industry, the number of hotel rooms is expected to increase by 40% to at least 100,000 with the number of employees hired respectively (Sanjay, 2019, p. 382). Moreover, Despite the estimated 2,5% of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) required for the event, this rate for Dubai is exceptionally high, while the unemployment rate is low (Gambrell, 2019). It can be concluded that the region is economically capable of maintaining the Expo without debts and reducing the tempo of economic growth, which is beneficial for the event itself, considering the significant amount of foreign direct investment (Hellgren, 2018). Therefore, the evidence shows that the mentioned factors contribute positively to the Expo 2020 Dubai, as the region is being prepared for it, and its economic opportunities are sufficient.

Sociological Factors

It is possible to state that sociological factors in UAE are beneficial ones. UAE is considered one of the safest and happiest countries in the world, with a low rate of homelessness, which could potentially deteriorate the impression of tourists from Dubai and Expo itself or even limit their visit (Puri-Mirza, 2020, para. 1). Moreover, the total population of the UAE was estimated to reach around 9.9 million in 2020 that is good for Expo2020, as the domestic market attracts a lot of visitors who work, study, and living across the UAE (Puri-Mirza, 2020, para. 1; (Sethi, 2019). The number of visitors and their satisfaction are expected to influence Expo 2020 positively.

Technological Factors

Expo 2020 Dubai is focused on new inventions and progressive technologies. However, there are also a variety of external ones that can potentially influence the event. The UAE population is relatively young, and this fact indicates their high tolerance to new technologies (Naushad, 2018a). Moreover, Uber will be testing flying cars during the event, which is also expected to increase the number of interested visitors (Hashmi and Rose, 2021, para. 10). It is also noticeable that the wealth of the country allows to purchase of new equipment and conduct technological developments. Therefore, the technological factors are beneficial for the forthcoming Expo.

Legal Factors

With respect to the legal factors that can potentially influence the Expo, there are several beneficial ones. The UAE is a constitutional constitutional monarchy whose Labour Law applies to all employees. The maximum working hours is eighty hours a week for an adult worker (Ahmed, 2020). Simultaneously, strict rules and regulations implemented result in low crime rates (Sethi, 2019). Therefore, UAE is one of the safest countries, which is definitely good in view of its attractiveness to tourists.

Environmental Factors

It is vital to outline a variety of negative and positive factors, considering Environmental ones. There are a number of challenges, such as limited water resources, air pollution, land degradation, carbon footprints, and noises of construction that may deteriorate the impression of the Expo (Puri-Mirza, 2020). Simultaneously, the climate is unproductive because it is hot and dry (Environmental challenges, no date). Moreover, the originally scheduled event to take place in Dubai from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021 was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the new dates are 1 October 2021 – 31 March 2022, and it also has an unpredictable influence on the Expo. The positive effect provides the location near a coastal area, allowing simple transferring of goods and people by sea. Therefore, environmental factors are more deteriorative than supportive ones unless their effects will not be technologically mitigated.

Expo2020Dubai Brand Ambition

The inspiration for the Dubai Expo 2020 logo is an artifact dating back to the Iron Age. It represents the 4000-year-old gold ring found in an area extending from Baynounah in Abu Dhabi to Saroug Al Hadeed in Dubai (Cherian, 2020, para. 2). The logo expresses to the World that Dubai has ancient origins and will continue to be a center for innovation and communication, as Dubai’s forefather civilizations were.

Expo 2020 Dubai Positioning

Expo 2020 is a global event dedicated to bringing participants countries, communities, and nations together to create bridges, promote change, and inspire approaches to the world’s most pressing issues. Expo 2020 reflects confidence in the potential benefits and effects of creativity, imagination, and innovation in order to change the world for the better (Thrillark, 2019). It is a reliable hub for motivating people to work collaboratively to solve humanity’s most urgent concerns, hosted in a future world-class city.

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Expo 2020 Dubai Target Audience

It is possible to define Expo 2020 Dubai’s target audience by considering the appropriate demographics and identifiers. Age: the event does not restrict the visiting of people of any age, with the emphasis on individuals between 15 and 60 years old. Moreover, Expo will offer free tickets for kids under five age-old above 60 ages, and discounted tickets for children between 5 to 15 age, and gifts during their journey through the exhibition (GMI Blogger, 2021). Gender: There are no restrictions as well, and the event is equally appropriate for any gender. Location: Expo 2020 is a unique and global event that is open to the public. It implies that there is no particular location, and visitors from any region as well as Dubai’s citizens, are welcomed here.

Hobbies: Ones, who are particularly interested in new technologies, such as robotics, biotechnology, genetics, and others, will find the event to be a valuable source of fascinating information. Income: The tickets are not cheap but fairly affordable, with an emphasis on individuals with an average and higher level of income. Business people are particularly welcome to visit the Expo as they might be interested in investing in the inventions displayed.

Education level: The event is most appropriate for students of schools and universities, graduates, their teachers, and other knowledgeable individuals. Expo2020 is the platform for making the planet to be your school. Expo2020 is bringing together students and teachers from around the UAE and the world for a once-in-a-lifetime educational and cultural experience. Students will take a journey to Expo 2020 through engaging educational activities designed especially for them and their teachers in the UAE. Additionally, they can interact with experts, discuss potential career options, and learn how to collaborate and develop ideas for a better future.

Profession: The event might become the most significant experience for one engaged in such areas of activity as engineering, environment protection, teaching, software development, innovation development, biotechnology, health care, design, architecture, and others related (McGinley, 2019). Marital status: There are no restrictions or particular focuses from the perspective of Expo with respect to marital status. Who consumers/visitors trust: influential figures in the spheres of innovation technologies development. What consumers/visitors read/watch: the target audience prefers journals describing new technologies and inventions and critical global issues, sci-fi books and films, and television programs about wild nature and scientific theories.

Expo 2020 Dubai Marketing Mix


The marketing mix consists of four Ps, which are Product, Price, Promotion, and Place, as they are vital factors to consider in the analysis of the event or the business from the perspective of their potential success. The product Expo offers to its visitors is the emotions, experience, knowledge, and memories. These values are not material but still essential from the perspective of the mental satisfaction of customers. Moreover, students can obtain new information here and deepen their knowledge about the world, while businesspeople can decide to invest in innovations.

There are three districts at the event, which provide distinct experiences to visitors. Sustainability one displays high-tech technologies, such as water condensing “trees or” falaj” irrigation channels (Sustainability district, 2019). Here it is also possible to know about how to assist in the protection of the environment. The mobility district offers experience related to advancements in space exploration and high-tech transportation technologies. It connects people and places to propel the world forward, bridging the divide between the physical and digital worlds to create a harmonious, global community where knowledge, ideas, and goods are shared more quickly than ever before (Mobility district, 2019). Opportunity district shows the opportunity to build better tomorrow through social innovations and programs. Here it is possible to meet the people who are transforming hopes and expectations into tomorrow’s realities and learn how to shape the future by unlocking your own potential (Opportunity district, 2019). Therefore, Expo offers an intangible product, which is knowledge, experience, and emotions that Expo is going to sell to its consumers.


Price is the next vital aspect to consider in the analysis as it implies the value of the product, its attractiveness, and affordability. Expo will offer the following types of tickets: A single-day ticket for 120 AED, a three-day ticket for 260 AED, a Monthly ticket for 350 AED, and a season pass for 595 AED (Tickets, 2019). It is possible to notice that there is a particular system in price setting that makes it more attractive for customers and beneficial for the business.

The one-day ticket looks like an overrated offer in comparison to others to make consumers decide between three others. A three-day ticket is the most attractive and balanced option as it enables visitors who arrived for a week, for instance, to manage their time at Expo appropriately. The two last offers are suitable for people in business and local citizens who are not restricted by time. It is expected that despite a higher price and appropriate opportunities, such categories will not be visiting the Expo daily, crowding the exhibitions. Individuals over the age of 65, children under the age of 5, and disabled individuals will be admitted free to the EXPO region. Children and teens between the ages of five and seventeen can receive a 50% discount (Tickets, 2019). Therefore, the prices are set appropriately, with consideration of customers’ needs and opportunities and the resources of the Expo.

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Expo 2020 Dubai is promoting the event through the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” and its three subthemes, which are Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability. They have adopted both traditional and modern marketing methods to attract different sections of customers. Advertisements have been placed in magazines, newspapers, billboards, radios, television, and social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook page, Twitter account, and their websites in 7 languages to reach various segments of the market.

Expo2020 has also launched the TV Channel, which is now accessible to all viewers across the Middle East, Western Europe, and North Africa as a free channel. It also launched a school center for students as part of its promotional activities. Furthermore, as a Premier Partner, Expo 2020 relies on Emirates Airlines to play a key role in advertising on planes and bringing visitors to Expo 2020 via its extensive network.

The Expo has initiated a program called the “Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme “(Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme, 2019). The grant program funds support and promote creative ideas that benefit communities and the environment. Applications are accepted twice a year. The program funds initiatives up to USD 100,000. A project’s maturity stage determines funding levels, its capacity to execute and expand, and the magnitude of its effect. The program’s objective is to develop sustainable solutions to global challenges built on Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability principles.


The point of sale is also vital, as the location where a consumer can purchase a product is significant. In this case, there is no need for the business to adopt points of sales to the places with a number of people passing by. Instead, Expo has a particular, unique location that is intended to attract customers from around the world. From this perspective, having a location that would be convenient to attend can be considered a beneficial factor. Expo 2020 will take place in Dubai, between the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, near the site of the gold ring discovery and the development of a replica of the Expo 2020 logo shape (Naushad, 2018b). It is near both the Al Maktoum International Airport and Dubai Investments Park. The Expo2020Dubai site offers a dedicated public bus and metro created specifically for expo visitors as well as enough free car parking space, with dedicated parking for each theme. Therefore, the place is sufficient for an event of such magnitude.


The conducted analysis shows that the Dubai 2020 Expo is a well-prepared event that will attract millions of visitors and offer them new experiences and knowledge for an affordable price. It is also a great opportunity for a society to unite around the ideas for global improvements and for people in business to invest in new interventions. Most factors are positive for the event, but environmental ones. Dubai is a safe place that has only occasional difficulties with being host to all the countries in the world. In addition, Marketing Mix shows the high value of the product and the existence of the opportunity to offer it successfully, as traditional and modern marketing methods can be used to bring the targeted audience to the event. Despite the fact that prices of tickets are set wisely, the discounts do not cover citizens who might need to attend the Expo the most.


Taking all the outlined above pros and cons of the Expo in the view of PESTEL analysis and B2C perspective, it is possible to propose the following recommendations. As Environmental factors are mostly negative ones, it might be vital for the comfort of the visitors to take care of the weather conditions through innovative technologies in solar and temperature protection, for instance. It might be necessary for the improvement of the knowledge of young students, to offer them tickets for a reduced price. This intervention will increase the number of visitors significantly and the profit slightly, but it is acceptable in view of the general purpose of the event.

Reference List

192 countries to take part in Expo 2020 (2019) Web.

About World Expos. (2019) Web.

Ahmed, A. (2020) Massive influx of tourists: Dubai is now the world’s fourth most visited city. Web.

Cherian, D. (2020) 5 things about the Expo 2020 logo. Web.

Environmental challenges. (no date) Web.

Expo 2020 Dubai. (2019) Web.

Gambrell, J. (2019) Dubai’s Big Bet on Expo 2020 Meets Political and Economic Headwinds. Web.

GMI Blogger (2021) United Arab Emirates Population Statistics (2021). Web.

Haneef, S. K., Ansari, Z., and Bhavani, G. (2019) ‘Attractions of Dubai and Expo 2020: an exploratory study’, Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, 11(3), pp. 266-278.

Hashmi, S. and Rose, I. (2019) Rescheduled Dubai Expo hopes to attract 25 million visits. Web.

Hellgren, N. (2018) Market Entry Strategy to the United Arab Emirates. PhD Thesis. Valkeakoski Campus Center. Web.

Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme (2019) Web.

McGinley, S. (2019) Expo 2020 Dubai: The most popular global source markets so far for visitors. Web.

Mobility District (2019) Web.

Naushad, K. (2018a) Expo 2020 Dubai becomes first business customer for 5G. Web.

Naushad, K. (2018b) Expo 2020 aims to enhance visitors experience with 5G. Web.

Opportunity District (2019) Web.

Oxtoby, T. (2021) Your ultimate guide to Expo 2020 Dubai. Web.

Puri-Mirza, A. Population density in the United Arab Emirates from 2000 to 2019 with a forecast for 2020. Web.

Sanjay, N. (2019) ‘Conclusions: Expo 2020 and Its Impact on Dubai’, Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, 11(3), pp.381–386.

Sethi, M. (2019) Homeless in the UAE. Web.

Sustainability District (2019) Web.

Thrillark (2019) Expo 2020: Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. Web.

Tickets (2019) Web.

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