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Expo 2020

Expo 2020 Dubai: Visitors share their excitement during opening week of world fair

Published: Updated:

As Expo 2020 Dubai opened its doors to the world for the first time, crowds of visitors flocked to the site during the opening week to witness first-hand the world’s biggest cultural gathering.

Over 182 days, more than 200 participants – including nations, multilateral organizations, businesses, and educational institutions, as well as millions of visitors – aim to come to come together to create the largest and most diverse World Expo ever.

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International visitors have already been flocking to Expo 2020 to get a glimpse of the impressive pavilions and attractions at the vast 4.3 square kilometer site.

Mubarak Salah al-Hemeiri, who came with his family from al-Ain, Abu Dhabi emirate, attended in the opening week, saying he woke up at 6 a.m. and planned to spend the whole day at the Expo site.

“I don’t use social media. I came here to get my own first impression,” said the 17-year-old. “I’m so excited. I couldn’t imagine seeing this city in the middle of the desert.”

Dubai-based Fabio Berti, from Italy, was also among the early birds, alongside his wife and children. “I am very happy to finally be able to see the Expo. I have been waiting a long time for this.”

It was a sentiment shared by Viju Kumar, a UAE resident for the past 15 years who visited Expo with his wife, Nirmala, after driving from Abu Dhabi.

“We have been waiting for this since last year. We are excited to see what’s inside. We’ll stay here for the whole day,” Kumar said. Nirmala traveled to the UAE from India to spend a holiday with her husband and see Expo 2020.

Metra Jayakumar, a network engineer who works in Dublin, Ireland, also traveled to Dubai on holiday and to visit Expo 2020 with her husband, Sid, a business analyst. “I came to Expo to explore!”

People visit the UK pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. (File photo: AP)
People visit the UK pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. (File photo: AP)

Desmond Hayes, also from Ireland, was awed at seeing the world in one place.

“I am here on vacation and have visited several different countries at Expo… The place in itself is amazing,” he said. “The construction is unbelievable.”

“Making something from nothing” is how Cara Fernando, a digital marketing entrepreneur from the Philippines, referred to how Dubai has developed the Expo site from scratch. “It’s amazing … so vibrant,” she said. “We are going to stay here till tonight to also watch the fireworks.”

Shaun Warner, who attended with his wife and two children, said that making something from nothing is “the story of Dubai” and exclaimed that the Expo site is “fantastic!”

“I came here to see the world in one place,” said Farrahana Hashim, an Abu Dhabi resident from Malaysia who was with her husband and four children.

Education was on the agenda for Monica Adamin, who brought a group of students for an awe-inspiring learning experience.

“We are bringing students all the way from Italy to take part in some educational laboratories inside the Italy Pavilion. So, we’ll have a general look of the Expo and for the next three or four days, we will be working in the pavilion,” she said.

People visit the Italian pavilion at the Expo 2020, in the Gulf Emirate of Dubai, on October 1, 2021. (AFP)
People visit the Italian pavilion at the Expo 2020, in the Gulf Emirate of Dubai, on October 1, 2021. (AFP)

Business was the priority for Atik Roman, originally from Bangladesh, who traveled from Florida, USA, and said that he “came here to see what kind of opportunities for investment are available.”

With up to 60 live events each day and more than 200 pavilions, the Expo site is coming alive during its 182-day feast for the senses. Its dynamic, diverse and ever-changing entertainment program features an array of internationally celebrated names and the sounds, rhythms and sights of a global cast of performers.

Expo 2020 Dubai is open every day until March 31, 2022, from 10 a.m. to midnight from Saturday to Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Thursday and Friday.

Read more:

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