'Expo is like home': visitors bid fond farewell to world's fair on final day

Families, students and tourists alike flocked to Expo 2020 Dubai on Thursday

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It was a time for emotional farewells and last tours of much-loved pavilions for thousands of visitors who returned to Expo 2020 Dubai for its grand finale on Thursday.

On the 182nd and final day of an event that has captivated millions, visitors looked through their yellow passports with stamps from the many country pavilions they had explored over the months.

Others huddled over large expo maps to figure out which attraction they wanted to revisit or sample for the first time before the gates shut at 3am.

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Expo is like home for me because it’s so wonderful and you get to learn so much
Tanmayi Kamath, Dubai school teacher

Large crowds waited patiently at the gates as the announcer welcomed visitors for the final time. They streamed in and headed directly for their favourite country pavilions, eager to savour every minute of the experience.

For Tanmayi Kamath, the Expo has been a weekend haunt since January.

The 38-year-old school teacher has visited all 215 pavilions, including 192 country pavilions and those hosted by companies and organisations.

After a hectic time collecting stamps and completing a sustainability challenge where visitors pledge to have a positive effect on the planet, Ms Kamath and her son Reyaansh Pai, 7, are emotional about the end of the world fair.

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Final day at Expo: in pictures

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“Expo is like home for me because it’s so wonderful and you get to learn so much,” she said.

“We have been coming here every weekend from January. It’s an amazing place and I’m really proud of Dubai for having put up such a wonderful show.

“Now that we have done all the pavilions, we want to make the most of it. We want to enjoy the parks that we never got to do because we were in such a hurry.”

Expo 'brought people together'

Ms Kamath is at a loss about what to do this weekend with a blank space in her diary that the world fair always filled.

“It has brought a lot of people together. I got to meet so many people, experience so many cuisines and educational games along with my son. It has been a wonderful experience," she said.

Taking photographs under the stunning Al Wasl dome became a ritual for many high-school pupils.

Teenagers completing school this year wore their school colours, cape and scarves to pose for pictures and record videos using the world’s largest projection dome as a backdrop.

Mohamdi Sidi Mohamed, an Emirati student from Sharjah, has visited the site several times with his family and school groups.

Learning about countries and cultures in one place was the draw.

“I love to learn about all countries and see people coming from all countries,” he said.

“I have learnt a lot at Expo. This is also the best place for our final-year school photograph."

Expo 2020 Dubai will put on a party to remember for the biggest crowds of its entire run with spectacular fireworks and a emotional closing ceremony.

Called the 'greatest show on earth', the global gathering has drawn more than 23 million visits with thousands flocking to the site during the final weeks.

The six-month world fair moves to Osaka, Japan where the next Expo will be held in 2025.

Updated: March 31, 2022, 12:23 PM
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