Second Time’s a charm? South Korea Bids for World Expo 2030

The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) has finalised its list of candidate countries set to compete to organise the World Expo 2030, last Wednesday.

South Korea is among the first of the two countries to officially bid to host the six-month world’s fair in its southeastern port city of Busan.

The city is competing against Russian capital Moscow, the Italian capital Rome, Ukraine’s resort city of Odessa and Saudi Arabia’s capital and main financial hub Riyadh.

Dimitri Kerkentzes, BIE secretary general, said the interest of the five countries “attest to the strong and shared desire for nations around the world to come together to shape a common vision for peace and human progress”.

“The expression of these different visions for the future will be of interest to us all as we learn more about these candidatures in the project evaluation phase,” he said.

The host country of World Expo 2030 will be elected by 170 members of BIE in 2023.

Theme selected

Competing countries have already announced their respective themes under which the world fair could be organised in 2030.

Saudi Arabia proposes organizing the Expo in Riyadh in October 2030 under the theme ‘the era of change: Leading the planet to a foresighted tomorrow’.

Italy – a founding member of the BIE – already hosted two world fairs – in Milan in 1906 and 2015. It is now competing to host it in Rome under a theme: ‘Beauty Connects People Architect(s)’.

Noscow, Russia’s capital, bids to organise the event under a motto ‘Human progress: A shared vision for a world of harmony’, with its officials saying that hosting the world’s fair is a “national priority”.

Ukraine’s theme for its Odessa proposal is ‘Renaissance, technology, future’, according to reports.

South Korea plans to organize th World Expo between 1 May and 31 October 2030, covering a wide array of themes ranging from climate change to technology.

Its Minister for Trade, Yoo Myung-hee, said Busan “aims to serve as a bridge between member nations,” when the Expo meets in 2030 to exchange science, technology and culture.

It will also serve as “a bridge between today and a better future”, she said, adding the port city’s candidature is based on a main theme; ‘Transforming Our World, Navigating Toward a Better Future’.

This motto was chosen to accompany the transformations required to ensure a “future in which people, technology and nature can go together peacefully and sustainably”, the minister added.

‘Dream come true’

If successful, it will be the first World Expo that South Korea will organise after Yeosu lost to host the World Expo in 2010 to Shanghai.

The country, however, has experience in hosting two BIE’s specialized expos – the first in Daejeon in 1993 and the second in Yeosu in 2012.

In Busan, its officials plan to promote its advanced display, chip and artificial intelligence technologies through the exposition.

World Expos is known as a venue where new technologies and iconic structures were introduced: the telephone (1876, Philadelphia), the Eiffel Tower (Paris, 1889) and Ferris Wheel (Chicago, 1893).

Taking place every five years and lasting up to six months and currently being held in Dubai (UAE), the World Expos attracts tens of millions of visitors, allows countries to build extraordinary pavilions, and transforms the host city for years to come.

Excited with the prospect of organising the international event, Park Heong-joon, Mayor of of the South Korean port city which has been under preparation since 2014, said hosting the Expo would be a “dream come true” for all of Busan’s citizens.


[Featured Image Yonhap News]