By Alvaro Mellizo
Dubai, Mar 31 (EFE).- Curtains closed on Expo 2020 Dubai on Thursday, marking the end of the world’s biggest event since the pandemic and one that managed to boost tourism and business activity for six months despite Covid-19, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and global economic issues.
Nearly 25 million people visited the coronavirus-postponed showcase world exhibition, something the authorities of the United Arab Emirates and the organizers consider a success.
The challenges were big, but the event, as Carmen Bueno, executive curator of the Spanish pavilion, tells Efe, “managed to survive complicated months” to become “a very interesting and unique exhibition.”
The breakout of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and the travel restrictions, together with the costly tickets, which had to be reduced later to encourage visits, left many people thinking “a disaster” was coming.
“But the entire Expo has been kept operational, and the country’s organizational system has made it possible to open an event of such magnitude during the pandemic. It is the first real opportunity for humanity to meet physically, which is what has been done symbolically in this room,” Bueno says.
The diversity of both visitors and exhibitors has also been a success, thanks to the “immense efforts” made by the authorities to include as many countries as possible.
“It has been done so that each country has its own pavilion, and that had not happened in previous expos. It was possible because there was a lot of help,” Bueno explains.
That made it possible for countries like Haiti or Equatorial Guinea to be present, as well as all countries of the Americas, which had “a great opportunity and window” at the expo to show themselves to the world, Cesar Vazquez, in charge of the pavilion of Peru, points out.
“This has commercial, cultural and tourist purposes… After the pandemic, both exports and tourism were hit hard and this gives us the option to take off and put the country back on track,” Vazquez says.
Expo 2020 comes to a close with a ceremony featuring fireworks, performances by Christina Aguilera, Norah Jones and Yo-Yo Ma. EFE