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Expo, where Human Progress and History Meet People 4. Directions for Future Development of Expo

4. Directions for Future Development of Expo

“Future world expo will adopt the realization of Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea, which has presented its future-orientedness.”
At 2012 Expo Yeosu Korea, Vicente Gonzales Loscertales, Secretary General for Bureau International des Exposition (BIE) unbosomed his thoughts when he said, “Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea shows the future of expo.” Furthermore, explaining that “Excellent exhibition facilities are provided by exploiting the Korean technology and the sea as the theme of the expo is well rendered, thus making Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea significant for the era,” Secretary General Loscertales emphasized that “Though not the largest in history, Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea is the most beautiful one so far.”

Focusing not on the expo but on the future
Some people say that the combination of Internet technology and renewable energy will give rise to the Third Industrial Revolution. Namely, the pursuit of common sustainability at the intersection of vertical and horizontal by resources of the earth and technology of humankind may be interpreted as a new alternative for government, business, and civil society. Thus, the future of humanity will be created differently, depending on how in our time we address and make improvements on the issues commonly facing us. It is at an expo that people can encounter the historic venue and future directions. Therefore, World Expo now should focus not on the expo but on the future.

Host cities think beyond the expo
We don’t have to weight the quantitative dimension for the success of an expo like holding on to the audience turnout coming short of expectation on the opening day or focusing on profits generated during the period. As you can see in the case of 1993 Daejeon Expo, when the Expo was finally hosted, people of Daejeon exulted as if it were something to celebrate in the family and looked forward to further development of the regional economy. And it is true that the city enjoyed temporary economic boom with expanded urban infrastructure and the inrush of visitors. However, the effects didn’t last long. After the event came to an end, the expo venue, the management of which was transferred from the central government to the specific local government, remained neglected for a while and when it turned out to be a hefty burden on the municipal finance, people even deplored its degradation to “a White Elephant“. Small business owners in the region liked the hike in their operating profits during the expo period but didn’t witness an uptick in their business after the event, while some of the local grassroots even had to leave the region as their home rent skyrocketed in a more expensive realty market. When the State of New Orleans went bankrupt after it held Lousiana World Exposition for nine months with the topic of ’The World of Rivers ? Fresh Waters as a Source of Life’, America was going to see no other state declaring candidacy for hosting an exposition. Moreover, the United States hasn’t even signed up as a BIE member. Secretary General Loscertales said, ”Not every country can implement an equally excellent exhibition,” and added, ”As for Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea, we strictly evaluated exhibition plans submitted by individual participating countries to keep all its exhibition halls above the average.” While efforts before and after the event from cultural, social, and economic perspective are necessary for a successful implementation of World Expo, simply hosting an expo shouldn’t make a goal.”

Reflecting on the ideas of BIE: trust, solidarity, and progress
What we need is a future-oriented approach that looks far into 10 years, 50 years, and 100 years from now, and establishing relevant goals and specific directions. For this, it is important to remember trust, solidarity, and progress, which are fundamental ideas and goals of BIE. In a nutshell, we should build trust among government, private organizations, and business in order to perform common projects for humanity through education and communication, strengthen solidarity of humankind and jointly explore solutions for challenging problems through the implementation of an expo as a venue for cultural diversity and technological innovation, and pursue the cultural, technological, and environmental improvement in the world through spiritual, material, and technological advancement. With this, we should specify plans to make sure that world expo brings substantial improvement in people’s life, while a future vision on local levels will have to create prosperity for a community by hosting more of related facilities and conducting exchange and cooperation.

Preparing an expo theme for the world
For the recognized exhibition in 2017, two cities have declared their candidacy: Astana of Kazakhstan and Liege of Belgium. And for 2010 World Expo, total five cities have declared their candidacy, including Ayutthaya in Thailand, Izmire in Turkey, Ekaterinburg in Russia, Sao Paulo in Brazil, and Dubai in UAE. Interestingly, all five of them are cities in emerging countries. The countries are involved in fierce competition to host the event in their cities by emphasizing ‘Southeast Asia’s first (Thailand)’, ‘Middle East’s first (UAE)’ etc. However, the true value of all this will be manifest when the significance of a world expo is properly presented. One should consider how excellently the theme of an expo harmonizes with the global situation and trend, how well the necessity for hosting an expo is presented, and how superbly future trends and legacy for posterity are drawn out in the way of contributing to the actual development of a specific region and the prosperity for all humanity.

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