International media praised the opening of Expo 2020 in Dubai on Friday after a stunning opening ceremony.
Canada's CBC news service described as "spectacular", an opening ceremony that featured Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, British singer Ellie Goulding, Chinese pianist Lang Lang and Saudi singer Mohammed Abdu.
Reuters, meanwhile, praised the "lavish ceremony of fireworks, music and messaging about the power of global collaboration for a more sustainable future".
Having kept the title Expo 2020 – the event was postponed by a year because of the outbreak of the coronavirus last year – this year's theme is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.
Organisers say they are hoping to attract 25 million business and tourist visits to the world fair, which has been built from scratch on 440 hectares of desert and will run until March 2022.
"Dubai doesn't do anything by half, the city always goes big," CNN said of the huge effort to bring the event to life.
US Commissioner General Robert Clarke said he was expecting up to three million visitors to his nation's pavilion, which features a replica of the Space X Falcon rocket. He praised the Covid-19 testing protocols in place in the UAE and at the event. To enter the Expo site, visitors will need to show a negative PCR test or proof of Covid-19 vaccination.
"I think people will feel safe here. I know we feel really safe and confident that we can be safe and healthy at the Expo," he told CNBC.
Since first making a splash in London in 1851, world fairs have long been an opportunity for nations to meet, exchange ideas, showcase inventions, promote culture and build business ties.