When will Expo 2020 Dubai end and where is the next one?

About 23 million visits have been recorded at Expo since it opened in October last year

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Latest: Expo 2020 Dubai gears up for fantastic finale

With only two days left before Expo ends its six-month residency in Dubai, people are flocking to the site to see more of the 200 pavilions housed in the vast site of the world's fair.

Organisers said there were almost 1.6 million visits in one week – a record or the event – and more than one million visits were reported on its final weekend, with nearly 23 million visits in total since it opened.

Here we take a look at what's next for the world's fair as an event and the legacy plans for the sprawling Expo site in Dubai South.

Where and when is the next expo?

The next expo will be held in Osaka, Japan, in 2025.

First established in 1851 in London, expos are generally held every five years, but Expo 2020 Dubai was postponed for one year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Osaka hosted the world's fair in 1970 under the theme "Progress and Harmony for Mankind".

Its expo in 2025 will have a theme of "Designing Future Society for Our Lives", with 150 countries and 25 international organisations expected to participate.

Expo 2025 will open on April 13 and close on October 13.

The Japan pavilion has been one of the more popular stops in Dubai. Organisers have been collating information about the times visitors have spent in sections related to nature, history and miniature forms. The findings will be used to curate the expo in Osaka in 2025.

When will Expo end?

The six-month extravaganza in Dubai will close its doors on Thursday, March 31. Described as the world's greatest show when it opened on October 1, organisers said the first world's fair to be held in the Arab world will close at the end of this month, despite talk of a possible extension.

The event's final day will include a dazzling display by the UAE Air Force’s Fursan Al Emarat aerobatics team and performances by music stars Christina Aguilera, Norah Jones and Yo-Yo Ma.

Visitors will be able to watch on more than 20 giant screens across the site, including at the Jubilee Stage, Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre, Festival Garden and various country pavilions.

The world's fair will remain open for firework displays at midnight and 3am.

Metro trains will run around the clock on Thursday and Friday to handle crowds, with tens of thousands of people expected to visit Expo.

The celebrations are included in the price of a ticket that has allowed people to visit the event several times over the past month.

What’s happening to the Expo site?

The site in Dubai will transform into a residential and business community called District 2020 once the world's fair is over, with cycling the main method of transport.

The 4.38 square-kilometre area will be repurposed to host 145,000 residents and workers with budding businesses, as well as multinational corporations, setting up operations in the mixed-use district.

More than 600 start-ups and small businesses from around the world are vying for a chance to be the first tenants of District 2020, which will open in October.

The start-ups are being selected from 628 businesses shortlisted after more than 3,000 registrations were received from 129 countries.

It will become the country's first “15-minute city”, meaning it will be possible to walk or cycle from end to end without the need for a car.

A big part of District 2020’s infrastructure is centred on health and well-being, with the aim of promoting an active and balanced lifestyle.

The site will feature smart mobility solutions that encourage sustainable and flexible means of movement between their office and home.

District 2020 will include a variety of mobility options that link the site, such as a dedicated autonomous vehicle route, a 10-kilometre cycling track, interconnected, wide pedestrian pathways and a 5km jogging track.

The Expo 2020 Dubai site forms a large part of Dubai's 2040 Urban Master Plan.

What's staying behind at the Expo site?

Once the world's fair draws to close on March 31, work will begin on turning the $8 billion site into a residential and commercial community. It is estimated that about 80 per cent of the structures will remain in some form.

The UK has already said it will open a hydrogen innovation centre with the UAE on the legacy site. Italy's government said it would run a “renaissance” legacy project at the site to preserve archaeological artefacts and art recovered from war zones.

Speaking to The National shortly before the world's fair began, chief experience officer Marjan Faraidooni said some of the largest buildings on site, such as the Mobility pavilion, were built with the future in mind.

“When we thought about the buildings, we automatically thought about what these buildings would be doing after the event is over. For this particular one, Mobility, the legacy is very flexible,” she said.

“We have worked closely with the architects on a design that allows us to shift and repurpose it as a commercial office building.”

Updated: June 23, 2023, 4:24 PM