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South Korea’s Busan Vies for 2030 World Expo Hosting Against Riyadh and Rome

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Paris – South Korea's southeastern city of Busan is making a final push to host the 2030 World Expo, competing against Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Rome, Italy. The host city will be selected by the member states of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) during its general assembly in Paris on Tuesday.

According to Philippines News Agency, Led by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, South Korean delegates and business leaders have been actively campaigning in Paris to secure the event for Busan. Their efforts include meeting with delegates from BIE member states to present Busan's vision and its capability to transform the World Expo into a platform for addressing global issues.

Prime Minister Han reiterated President Yoon Suk Yeol's message to give their best efforts until the final decision is made. President Yoon, who recently returned from a trip to Europe, actively participated in the final campaign efforts in France to advocate for Busan.

Busan faces a challenging competition against Riyadh, which has conducted an extensive marketing campaign. However, South Korean officials have expressed determination, with a government official noting shifts in support between South Korea and Saudi Arabia in the final stages of the campaign.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also joined Busan's campaign efforts, emphasizing the city's potential to contribute to sustainable development globally.

The World Expo, a significant event promoting global innovation and cultural exchange, is scheduled to be hosted in Busan between May 1 and October 31, 2030, if the city wins the bid. The theme proposed for the Busan Expo is "Transforming Our World, Navigating Toward a Better Future."

Busan's local authorities estimate that hosting the Expo could generate economic benefits worth 61 trillion won (US$47 billion), attract over 50 million tourists, and create more than 500,000 new jobs.

During the BIE General Assembly, each candidate city will present its project, followed by a secret ballot vote. South Korea plans to highlight Busan Expo's unique strengths, including the city's appeal, the government's long-term efforts, and international support.

The proposed site for the Expo in Busan is a 3.43-square-kilometer area at a port, with plans to provide access via a hydrogen-powered tram from a new airport to be completed by late 2029.

The BIE General Assembly voting process involves one vote per country from 182 member state representatives. The winning city must secure a two-thirds majority, with a runoff vote planned if no candidate achieves this in the first round. Observers anticipate a close race between Busan and Riyadh.