Busan’s Lost Bid for 2030 World Expo: A Call for Reflection and Future Planning

SEOUL - In the recent vote held by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), Busan's bid to host the 2030 World Expo resulted in a defeat, with Saudi Arabia's Riyadh securing 119 votes against Busan's 29. This outcome.

According to Yonhap News Agency, has led to widespread disappointment, particularly given the high national hopes for a come-from-behind victory. President Yoon Suk Yeol issued an apology for the overwhelming loss in the competition to host this prestigious international event.

The secret ballot nature of the BIE voting process makes predicting the outcome challenging. However, the significant gap in votes indicates a possible lapse in the South Korean government's understanding of the situation. Speculations arose about whether the government had an objective assessment, especially in light of the final promotional video, which notably omitted Busan.

The campaign for the 2030 Expo began in 2019 under the Moon Jae-in administration, and the subsequent Yoon administration formed a joint private-public committee in July 2022. In contrast, Saudi Arabia's campaign, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since 2021, was characterized by a series of strategic steps and significant projects aimed at reshaping the country's post-oil future.

Despite the unsuccessful bid, the extensive 17-month effort by both the government and private sector yielded positive outcomes. These include the enhancement of Korea's national brand and the significant improvement in Busan's global competitiveness, evidenced by its rise to the 15th rank in the Smart Centers Index (SCI). Furthermore, diplomatic efforts to compensate for the late start in preparations have the potential to strengthen Korea's ties, particularly with countries in Africa and South America. The bid committee's interactions with over 3,470 global leaders over 500 days are a testament to this.

The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry acknowledged the contributions of the heads of top business groups in broadening Korea Inc.'s global horizons. The editorial emphasizes that failure often serves as a stepping stone for future success. It suggests that the government should introspectively assess its strategies and develop a more effective approach for the nation's future endeavors.

scroll to top