'Can't they keep it open forever?' Expo 2020 Dubai visitors on what they loved most

Final day of world's fair is expected to attract the event's largest crowds yet

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Follow the latest updates on Expo 2020 Dubai's final day and closing ceremony

Thousands of residents and tourists are arriving at Expo 2020 Dubai for its grand finale on Thursday.

After 181 days of exploring different cultures across 192 country pavilions, as well as enjoying an international array of foods, it has come down to this final day for visitors to give the world’s fair an emotional farewell.

Celebrations will run throughout the night, with a fireworks show and pop concerts that are expected to attract the event’s biggest crowds yet.

Visitors started arriving early on the last day but it will likely become busier from late afternoon, with the expo to remain open for firework displays at midnight and 3am.

The National spoke to visitors who shared their favourite memories of Expo 2020 Dubai and what they will miss now that its doors are closing.

‘I would’ve come here every day if I could’

Ines Lafosse from Argentina on the last day at the Expo 2020 Dubai site. Pawan Singh / The National

Ines Lafosse, 34, a tourist from Argentina, said her favourite part of the expo was its enormous water feature.

“The expo was even better than I expected. I think I would've come here every day if I lived here,” she said.

“The water fountain is my favourite spot because you can just hang out here all day and there is a great vibe. Everyone is really enjoying themselves.”

‘Why can’t they just keep it open?’

Alisher Orazov from Kazakhstan will miss getting to learn about different cultures and trying different foods. Pawan Singh / The National

Alisher Orazov, 23, a tourist from Kazakhstan, was hoping Expo 2020 could have remained open for longer.

He has visited the grand event twice since he arrived in the UAE last week.

“I think six months for such a big event like this is not enough. They could’ve kept it open for more time,” he said.

“What I will really miss is getting to learn about different cultures and trying different foods.”

‘It’s a nice place to hang out’

Avnitha Manikandan's favourite pavilions have been the UK and the Mission Possible (Opportunity) ones. Pawan Singh / The National

Avnitha Manikandan, a 10-year-old pupil in Dubai, has visited the world’s fair several times since it opened.

“I really love the architecture and some of the pavilions focus so much on artificial intelligence,” she said.

“My favourite pavilions have been the UK and the Mission Possible (Opportunity) ones because they both send out a nice message.

“Overall, it’s a nice place to come and hang out with your family and friends and we’ll really miss it.”

‘We’ll miss the concerts’

Judy Munene (right) and her sister Elizabeth are hoping to see some of the pavilions they did not get a chance to visit. Pawan Singh / The National

Judy Munene, 43, a Kenyan resident in the UAE for 18 years, has also been to Expo many times.

She was visiting on the last day with her sister Elizabeth and was hoping to see some of the pavilions they did not get a chance to visit because of long queues.

“We've loved the food and the concerts and we’ll really miss all of that,” she said.

“The evenings have been really nice here because the weather is nicer and there’s a great vibe. We’re a bit sad that we didn’t get to see the Japan and German pavilions, though.”

‘Dubai knows how to put on a grand show’

Vitally Smirnov, a tourist from Moscow, visits as Expo 2020 Dubai nears its conclusion. Pawan Singh / The National

Vitally Smirnov, 24, a Russian tourist in Dubai, said he had newly found it was the last day of Expo and was “sad” it was ending.

“I think what we’re all going to miss is the scale of the event and all of the different exhibitions and experiences it had for visitors,” he said.

“Dubai really knows how to put on a big show. My favourite has been the Alif pavilion because it has a little bit of everything – technology and it looks pretty.”

‘It was a great experience for students’

Furqan Baig said Luxembourg was one of his favourites because of the huge slide. Pawan Singh / The National

Furqan Baig, 19, an Indian university student in Dubai, said he was glad the event was free for students as it allowed him to visit several times.

“It’s a great initiative for students. We’ve learnt so much about different cultures,” he said.

“Luxembourg was one of my favourites because of the huge slide. Saudi Arabia had a great fountain and Hungary had a fun ball pit.”

‘The fun vibes reminded me of the Philippines’

Halie Eslamado from the Philippines and a resident of the UAE soaks up the vibes on the last day of Expo 2020 Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

Halie Eslamado, 32, a Filipina nurse in Dubai, also managed to visit on the final day. She has been to Expo more than 10 times.

“The best part has been the evenings because the Expo comes to life then,” she said.

"There are concerts, entertainment and people are having so much fun. It really reminds me of how it is back in the Philippines."

‘My son wanted to visit every day’

Rhema Fernandez, resident of Sharjah, with her son Liam on the last day at the Expo 2020 site in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

Rhema Fernandez, a resident from the Philippines, said her son Liam, 9, is a big fan of the world’s fair.

“He asked us to bring him almost every single day. He’s really loved it and was really upset that it was ending.

Liam said: “I like the German pavilion because it has a lot of activities and I also like the Rashid park.”

'Alif pavilion was the best'

Thelma Cherian, a UAE resident, is a fan of the Alif pavilion. Pawan Singh / The National

Thelma Cherian, 55, a Dubai resident for 30 years, was another fan of the Alif pavilion.

"It's so different from all the other ones. The water feature is also great," she said.

"We're sad that we didn't get to see some of the pavilions because of the long lines, especially the Emirates airline and the Japan one."

'Thanks for the great memories, Dubai'

Bismarck Amartey Narh and Helen Awahnji from Ghana enjoy the atmosphere on the final day. Pawan Singh / The National

Bismarck Amartey Narh, 32, from Ghana, said that the expo was his best experience since he moved to Dubai a few years ago.

"There's so much to do here and I can't believe it's closing. The weather has not been too bad and everyone has had so much fun here," he said.

"I like many pavilions and it's difficult to pick the best one because they all stand out for their own unique offerings."

Updated: March 31, 2022, 12:15 PM
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