DUBAI: Saudi Arabia lowered the curtain on its Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion on Monday, and looked to raise another one — by hosting Expo 2030 in Riyadh.
On an evening of spectacle, as Saudi dancers performed traditional and contemporary routines in front of the pavilion’s striking architectural façade, the Kingdom reinforced its desire and readiness to bring the global event home.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the Saudi bid in October 2021, and the formal application was submitted to the Bureau International des Expositions in December.
“As we continue our expo journey toward Expo 2030, we will grow the expo team from 300 to 34 million people as our whole nation mobilizes behind our efforts,” Fahd Abdulmohsen Al-Rasheed, chief executive of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, said at the closing ceremony in Dubai on Monday.
The event, attended by dignitaries and VIPs, celebrated the success of the pavilion over the past six months. “What a pavilion and what an experience it was,” Al-Rasheed said. “It was the colors, the landscapes, the diversity, the authenticity, the heritage, the modernity — I could see under one roof everything that we are all as a nation working toward.”
The pavilion’s dramatic sloping structure features a façade representing the idea of a large window open to the future. “It has become a recognizable landmark with a strong foundation rooted in heritage rising toward the sky,” said Hussain Hanbazaza, the pavilion’s commissioner general.
The pavilion was the most visited at Expo 2020, with more than 4.8 million people passing through its doors. Its architecture and design, and its programming over the past six months, aimed to represent the social, cultural and economic change that is taking place in the Kingdom as a result of the Vision 2030 reform agenda.
“This is a statement about our readiness to open our hearts and doors to the rest of the world, and to the limitless potential of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Hanbazaza said.
Al-Rasheed said Riyadh was a global capital, and two thirds of its people were under the age of 30. “Its streets, corners, offices and parks are bustling with youthful energy,” he told guests at the closing ceremony.
“We know that the world of 2030 will be different, we know that it will be better. Our capital Riyadh is preparing to host you and the world. But to get there, we need to work together.”