Ayutthaya, Thailand has been dismissed as a candidate to host the World Expo 2020, reducing the number of contenders to four, according to reports.
Vying for the hosting rights are four cities - Ekaterinburg, Russia; Dubai, the United Arab Emirates; Izmir, Turkey; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
In 2010, Shanghai World Expo attracted 73 million visitors. According to the CNTA (National Tourism Administration), the direct tourism income from the Shanghai World Expo runs to over $12 billion. In addition, the spillover effect to adjacent cities caused a 20 per cent bump in tourism services demand.
In its quest, Thailand plans to attract more than 30 million visitors in 2020, while Turkey targets 39 million.
The Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) on Tuesday reportedly disqualified Thailand, amid concerns that the bid did not have sufficient support from the government.
On his Facebook page, former finance minister Korn Chatikavanij said that it is a pity that Thailand was disqualified. He attributed this to lack of the government's professionalism.
"The Yingluck government did not take this seriously. This may be this is initiated by the Democrat government. Or the government may not see any benefits from this. Or the government may want to pave way for Dubai," he said.
He noted that while Thais have observed this development with full interest, the BIE did not know about this. "What they knew is our PM"s insistence that Thailand would join the bid. Yet, when we have to submit an official confirmation, we just quietly pulled out."
It was estimated that Thailand would need to spend Bt30 billion or about US$1 billion, to prepare for the world's largest fair. Russia is reportedly planning to invest $2.5 billion for this purpose. In the original bid, Thailand expected that the expo would draw more than 30 million visitors.
In February, Prime Minister's Office Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsong-phaisan said the Yingluck government was assessing the worthiness of investing in a bid to stage the World Expo. There has been no report on the progress ever since.
Arabianbusiness.com drummed up the news, as Dubai’s plans for the international event as meeting the criteria for staging the expo, based on inspections by BIE officials. The cities also will present their progress reports to the BIE general assembly in Paris on Wednesday.