'This is not the end but a new era': Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid hails Expo 2020 Dubai

Vice President and Ruler of Dubai says the event touched hearts and minds

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Related: Expo 2020 Dubai thrills the world with a send-off to remember

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, hailed the success of Expo 2020 Dubai as the world's fair came to a spectacular close.

Thousands of people thronged the site for the final day to catch concerts by stars such as Christina Aguilera and Norah Jones as well as several incredible firework displays that lit up the sky.

In an audio message played at the closing ceremony, Sheikh Mohammed said Expo 2020 Dubai offers the opportunity of “a new beginning” for the UAE and the world.

“During the Expo 2020 Dubai journey, we portrayed to the world a different version of ingenuity that touched the hearts and minds of every member of society,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

“Our sons and daughters have proven their ability to overcome unprecedented difficulties and challenges. And in every moment of this journey, we reflected the values of the UAE — values of affection and hospitality. Today is not the end of Expo 2020, but a new beginning.”

Sheikh Mohammed also said there are even better things ahead.

“The UAE and Dubai will continue ... to be graceful and strong – and able, to 'Connect Minds and Create the Future' with this exceptional government, and the leadership of my brother [Sheikh] Mohamed bin Zayed [Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces]," said Sheikh Mohammed.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, also hailed the event, paying tribute to all those who made it a success.

"Let us take a moment and appreciate the outstanding work of every individual who made this happen," said Sheikh Hamdan on social media.

The six-month Expo came to a close on Thursday after the event attracted millions of visits, from world leaders to residents.

Spectacular firework displays lit up the site and were visible across the city.

The Expo baton now passes to Japan, where the next event will be held in Osaka 2025.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid visits Expo 2020 site when it was under construction — in pictures

Updated: April 01, 2022, 9:35 AM