The Piedmont Region is putting together a Region-enterprise competitiveness panel, where Expo 2020 will be a key part of the recovery plan for the economy and tourism. But elsewhere in Italy plans are afoot to make the Dubai Universal Exhibition a big opportunity to revive the country system in what otherwise may be remembered as an annus horribilis, in the shadow cast by the noughties recession and the coronavirus emergency.
Piedmont Region President Alberto Cirio is meeting with representative figures of the Piedmontese economy. He explained that it was "an extraordinary session" to study the repercussions of the coronavirus and the slowdown in productive activities.
"Against this background, we had decided to participate in the Dubai Expo, but for a number of objective reasons we almost thought we wouldn't be there. But after coronavirus we will be in Dubai to show that Piedmont is still here, is in good health and welcomes everyone with open arms because it is a safe region".
The city of Milan is already working on Italian participation and the mayor has been invited to the first week of Expo, when, in a symbolic handover between the two Expos, the Italy Pavilion will dedicate a series of initiatives to the legacy of Expo 2015.
In any case, expectations surrounding Expo 2020 have been very high for some time: Professor Lucio Lamberti, Associate Professor of Marketing at the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano argues that participation in this mega event will have an estimated 2 billion euro annual knock-on effect on the Italian economy for the five years after 2021. This is thanks to the "strengthening of exports in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, as well as increased activity in infrastructure projects or more capital flowing to our small and medium enterprises. There is also great anticipation of the tourism activities that would result from the efficient promotion of the beauty, localities and quality features of our country among the target audiences of Dubai Expo 2020".
The chosen theme for Italy’s participation is Italian beauty – a topic that may seem insubstantial but which is in fact, as Italian Commissioner Paolo Glisenti explains, "a very practical cultural theme; for every Euro of GDP, the beauty of this country produces 2.5 Euro of profit, contribution and development".
And Rome will also focus on the Universal Exhibition from 20 October to promote local tourism and economy on the global stage. Last week a motion was unanimously approved for the participation of Roma Capitale at the Universal EXPO. The proposal calls for Expo recognition of Rome’s age-old history, its art and its culture, and for acknowledgement of its rightful place at international level, "coinciding with the 150th anniversary of Rome as Capital of Italy".
The motion declared that "Rome will work in a synergistic and shared manner in this important event".