Wouldn’t you love to fly out of Sydney at sunrise on a five-star airline and by sunset be meeting millionaires for dinner at a VIP table in Dubai?
If you could visit right now a cosmopolitan city that has not been impacted by the pandemic, would you?
What if you had the opportunity to dine with family members of powerful political leaders, would you take it?
If you were offered the opportunity to dine with a CEO of an international company who employed more than 1,000 people, would you take it?
Welcome to Dubai, it is time for the world to enjoy Expo 2020.
Expo 2020 was a World Expo hosted by Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.
Originally scheduled for 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021, it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite being postponed, organizers kept the name Expo 2020 for marketing and branding purposes.
I do remember flying into Dubai and Europe in 2019 and saw all those beautiful signs on Emirate planes “Dubai Expo 2022” and I wanted to see this wonder because I did witness one Expo as a kid.
It was called Osijek Expo 1980. Imagine that World Expo in a communist country and me being 8 years old. All I saw was some flags and free soft drinks but hey, it was an experience.
Fast forward to May 2022 and I am in Dubai. While the Expo had finished a few weeks before, all I could hear from people around me was that it was a success.
Then I was asked by my coach and good friend Daniel Tolson to take the time to meet some new business people he is working with so I can extend my professional services and meet the demands of potential clients.
When we hear the word Dubai, we think of and see a glamorous city, lights, parties, gold, fast cars and as well the opposite to that many negative feedbacks. Whether true or not all I can say for Dubai, is well done.
Why is that?
Firstly, if we talk about leadership, the United Arab Emirates showed leadership, converting a city in the desert into something glamorous. So few would have had such a vision and turn it into a reality.
It was difficult to build such a city? Yes.
It was a mammoth task, with countless sacrifices and hard times in building this city? Yes.
So by any means or any rules, when someone turns the desert into a glamorous city, well done again.
But this podcast is about, what we can learn from Dubai?
Let’s hop into 2020, the year of the Rat and the year of the world shutting down, literally. The world has been shut down hence Expo 2020 was not going to happen, despite we were told “we need 2 weeks to flatten the curve”.
But finally 2021 saw Expo 2020 coming to life and just to crunch some numbers about Expo:
“According to Economic Times (Indian Times) “eight years of anticipation, over $7 billion in investment, 240 million hours of labour and six months of festivities. “
So here I am in Dubai, high noon and the month of May, hot and even more hot, Dubai looks beautiful as always and guess what? Tourists are pouring into the airport, flying in, flying out. Compared with me on the day of departure I couldn’t buy coffee on Sydney airport at 5am. Why?
Just imagine, why.
So, time for meeting business people in Dubai. I’ve done my work and Daniel kindly introduced me via message with the people I am going to meet.
Sure, I wasn’t afraid of anything perhaps because I truly feel safe in this place, this city and I was told, criminals will not rob the bank, kill someone and run away?
May I ask why not? Well, we are in desert so where they can go? Interesting.
I knew the answer, not.
Time for dinner and I met this awesome power couple and I was told by my host that he runs hundreds of restaurants across the globe so we started a conversation as if we have known each other for years.
My question was, how was during pandemic 2022? Arrests? Riots? Protests? Conspiracy theory? Vaccines? Lockdowns.
So my host replied generously, that while it was tough for people, no there was no protest, riots because the government was on top of everything in order to end the pandemic as fast as possible and back on track without big marketing slogans “Build Back Better” and so on.
So, what did the Dubai government do?
Firstly, they wanted that Expo back for the investment and so the economy could bounce back because with each passing day, it is money lost forever.
So, what did the Dubai government do?
Declared their neutrality like Switzerland and they started buying vaccines from every possible source, including Russia. Even the rest of the world denied the covid vaccine Sputnik V.
Secondly, they started slowly and cautiously opening society, not internally, but to the outside world because they reached the highest vaccination rate and they felt protected from the virus.
‘Ok so let me get this straight’, I asked my host, you got vaccines from everyone and anyone? Yes!
So you get vaccinated to protect yourself and simultaneously opening for tourism to the rest of the world?
So how is that possible?
‘The answer is simple Mario’. My host explains, UAE and Dubai is like Switzerland, they are neutral and all what they do is to be in good relationship with everyone and acquire vaccines, so we can do daily life, we can start trading without delays, we can get back tourist and no Mario, no riots no police arresting those who didn’t like lockdowns because we saw here how the rest of the world is struggling and going from one to another lockdown.
Secondly airlines operated, even with less people but logisitics was good, maybe no tourist on plane but items and goods were.
So what we can learn from this?
Taking care of your own people and protecting them from harm, ie the virus, as soon as possible. Give your own people access to all of the information and most importantly show the world you are ready to do business, even in the most difficult times.
But why Dubai I asked, why do you like it here?
Answer was, we truly believe the government is here for us and we are on first place regardless of our security internally, externally and that we can work and grow as a society. Plus Mario, the food is awesome here!
Thank you Daniel and his friends who hosted me and showed me how life in Dubai is truly something we all can admire and desire.
This post was written by Mario Bekes