Almost 1.6m visits to Expo 2020 Dubai in one week as numbers reach 19m

Teachers and children will be among the VIP guests at the closing ceremony

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The surge in visits to Expo 2020 Dubai has continued with just under 1.6 million in the past week.

Organisers said the total number of visits to the world's fair since it opened on October 1 had reached 19 million.

Sconaid McGeachin, senior vice president of communications at Expo 2020 Dubai, said that while entertainment had contributed to the numbers, organisers' focus on young people had also boosted them, with 2.7 million visits by under-18s since the start of the event.

Organisers said teachers and children would be among the VIP guests at the event in Al Wasl Plaza on March 31.

“Within Al Wasl itself, the focus of the audience will be on children,” said Ms McGeachin.

“The focus throughout Expo has been looking at youth and ensuring that youth are involved in everything.”

In the last seven days, Expo 2020 has hosted International Women’s Day celebrations, with Hollywood star Rami Malek appearing at Al Wasl Plaza, where he read New Day’s Lyric by American poet and activist Amanda Gorman. He called on men to rectify past mistakes and empower women of the future.

On Monday, Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton took visited Expo for a special Q&A session, where he told fans that he was ready to put last season's disappointment behind him and fight for his eighth championship title this season.

The F1 star also revealed plans to change his name to honour his mother.

This week sees Ireland host its country day on St Patrick's Day at Expo 2020, with business events, music and sport planned for March 17.

Expo will also mark the annual Gulf celebration Haq Al Laila with an event for children and families at Al Forsan Park.

Haq Al Laila is a time of celebration that symbolises giving and is celebrated on the 15th of Shaaban in preparation for the arrival of the Holy Month of Ramadan two weeks later. In the evening, Emirati children wear colourful, traditional clothes and go door-to-door in their neighbourhood singing a song in exchange for sweets.

On March 18, Expo 2020 will distribute 200,000 goodie bags for children including crisps and sweets. There will also be a parade comprising 50 camels. For Expo stamp collectors, a bespoke Haq Al Laila stamp will be available at some visitor centres.

Expo's final theme week — Water Week — begins on March 20 which will raise awareness that water is a finite source and currently under threat.

Updated: March 15, 2022, 8:02 AM