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Dubai govt declares holiday on Monday

By KT Team / 13 January 2008

DUBAI — City residents have been urged to stay indoors to avoid any inconvenience as all main roads will be closed from 6am to 4pm during US President George W. Bush’s visit Dubai on Monday, according to official government sources.

A public holiday has been declared for all sectors on Monday, according to Wam and the office’s media relations officials.

“All main roads will be closed for several hours,” an official said.

The Media Relations Manager of Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Eyad Ali Abdul Rahman, said considerable planning and coordination among various departments had gone into on Monday’s arrangements.

“From our department, the Heritage Village by Shindagha tunnel will be closed for a couple of hours,” he said. “We’ve informed all our tour operators and their tourists have been transferred to other tours for the day. Dubai is always organised and has very good planning for VIP visits.”

The public holiday and road closures in Dubai were only declared late yesterday but the US Consulate-General posted a news alert on its Web site several days ago that it would be closed on Monday for “administrative purposes.”

“The US Consulate-General will be closed to the public on Thursday, January 10 in observance of Islamic New Year, and also on Monday, January 14 for administrative purposes,” the statement detailed.

However, the US government has not changed its travel advisory for the UAE and a notice posted after May last year continues to recommend “high-level vigilance.”

The Abu Dhabi International Airport was closed for about an hour when President Bush arrived there yesterday.

Some flights experienced minor delays, including five Etihad flights that were held up for nearly an hour, according to the airline’s spokesperson, Thomas Clarke.

The Dubai International Airport did not have any significant flight delays or any diversions, according to Dubai Department of Civil Aviation Senior Press Officer Zaigham Ali.

“Dubai airport will function normally on Monday,” Ali said.

Airlines, including Emirates and Air India, said there were no changes to on Monday’s flight schedules and urged passengers to allow plenty of time to reach the airport.

Spokespersons also referred passengers to their respective airline’s Web sites for flight schedules.

Meanwhile, pre-fixed schedules went awry after the Dubai Government announced a sudden holiday for the public and private sector, including schools, on Monday.

Major events and happenings in the city have been either cancelled or postponed for until tomorrow, amidst chaotic arrangements following the government’s holiday announcement citing the closure of major tunnels, flyovers, bridges and roads of the city as a reason for the holiday.

With confusion prevailing, organisers of several events said they were in a state of confusion after the sudden announcement.

However, organisers of some major ongoing events and exhibitions in Dubai World Trade Centre said they would continue as normal.

Organisers of the major crowdpuller, Global Village, said the venue was closed for the public yesterday due to the weather and would also remain closed on Monday on account of the public holiday.

Organisers of the ongoing two-day event Intersec (Civil Defence Security and Safety Exhibition) said the event would continue as normal. “We know that it might be difficult for visitors and exhibitors to reach the venue if all major roads are closed, but we are still going on,” said the organisers.

“We were anyway considering postponing some scheduled events due to traffic problems but now that the official holiday has been announced, we will officially postpone the events for until a day after,” said staff of a public relation company.

Most consulates, banks and other public sectors also confirmed that they would remain closed  owimg to public holiday. Hospitals, will, however, function as normal.

The Chairman of Dubai Shopping Malls Group, Essa Adam Ibrahim, said that shopping malls would remain open as usual.

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