ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev officially closed Expo Astana 2017 and called the three-month event – the theme of which was “Future Energy” – an accomplishment.
“The Expo has been a success. This is one of Kazakhstan’s most brilliant achievements since its independence,” the Kazakh president said at the international fair’s closing ceremony at the Astana Congress Center, where the baton was passed to Dubai, the next city to host the international exposition in 2020.
Bureau International des Expositions Secretary General Vicente Loscertales also described Expo 2017 as “a tremendous success.”
During its three-month run, the fair was attended by almost four million visitors and some 50 international leaders, in addition to hosting more than 3,000 artistic, cultural and sporting events.
“Between 40,000 and 50,000 people visited the exhibition every day. Half a million people came to the Expo from 180 different countries. That is, one in every six visitors were foreigners,” Nazarbayev said.
The fair has been a great economic and tourist boost to this former Soviet republic and, according to the Central Asian country’s leader, it has been a catalyst for interactions between business and science.
The Expo flag was presented to BIE President Stein Christensen, who will hand it over to Dubai.
The closing ceremony included a number of concerts and a light and laser show that presented a future world based on the importance of renewable energy, a reference to the central theme of the Expo Astana 2017.
At the ceremony, some of the 153 inventions displayed at the Expo were presented, including public lighting generated via the kinetic energy that people produce when walking down the street and energy generated by plants through photosynthesis.
In addition, 2,232 people, representing the number of hours the international exhibition has been open, formed a human chain from the Astana Congress Center to the Nur Alem Pavilion, the largest spherical construction in the world, measuring 80 meters in diameter and the symbol of the Expo.
During the closing ceremony there was an impressive fireworks show that lit up both the Expo site and Kazakhstan’s modern capital.
Expo Astana exceeded expectations in terms of international visitors with 115 countries and 22 international organizations taking part.
The fair invited participants and visitors to reflect on the importance of moving towards a global energy system that is increasingly based on renewable sources, helping to reduce CO2 emissions and dependence on oil and increase the energy autonomy of different regions and communities.
A number of hotels were built especially for the Expo with capacity for 35,000 people, along with residences for 40,000 students.
Moreover, the capital transport system was improved and a new megaterminal was built at the Astana International Airport, to increase capacity from 3.6 million to 8.2 million passengers per year.
In addition, Kazakhstan concluded bilateral and multilateral “open skies” agreements for the three months of Expo and relaxed its visa regime for dozens of countries.