From floating mosque to stone temple: 24 new things coming up in the UAE in 2024

Get ready for enhanced government services, new laws, the world's tallest hotel, and the world's largest surf park. The New Year promises a multitude of developments for UAE residents and visitors. Here's a preview of what lies ahead


Mazhar Farooqui

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Published: Thu 14 Dec 2023, 5:19 PM

Last updated: Thu 14 Dec 2023, 6:27 PM

Surf's Up: World’s largest artificial surf park in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi will unveil the world’s largest artificial surf park at Hudairiyat Island, developed by Modon Properties in collaboration with the Kelly Slater Wave Company. Surf Abu Dhabi will promise the longest ride, largest barrel, and highest man-made wave for surfers of all skill levels.

Global music extravaganza: UNTOLD festival in Dubai

Electronic music enthusiasts, mark your calendars for the first-ever UNTOLD music festival in Dubai from February 15 to 18. Expo City Dubai will host this colossal music event, bringing the world’s biggest acts and DJs for an unforgettable showcase.

14 new hotels set to dazzle

Experience the grandeur of 14 new hotels opening in the UAE. Highlights include One&Only One Za’abeel, a vertical urban resort with dual skyscrapers linked by the world’s longest cantilever. Other exquisite properties such as the superyacht-inspired Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab and the Middle East’s first luxury hotel by Dorchester Collection, The Lana, promise a unique hospitality experience.

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Floating Mosque: A spiritual oasis at Dubai Canal

Dubai will unveil the world’s first floating mosque at Dubai Canal. With a budget of Dh55 million, this three-floor marvel features an underwater prayer hall and two above-water floors for lectures, exhibits, and workshops. The mosque is part of Dubai’s initiative to boost religious tourism.

Grand opening: Abu Dhabi’s BAPS Hindu Temple

On February 14, the Middle East will welcome the BAPS Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi. This traditional Hindu stone temple, crafted from pink sandstone and white marble, spans 27 acres and stands as a symbol of global harmony. Built by 3,000 artisans over four years, the temple will open its doors to people of all faiths with a ‘Festival of Harmony.’

First Emirati woman astronaut to embark on space mission

Nora Al Matrooshi, the first Emirati woman astronaut, is set to make history with a space mission next year. Trained alongside colleague Mohammed Al Mulla at NASA Johnson Space Centre, this significant milestone was announced by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

J1 Beach to emerge as new hotspot

Say goodbye to La Mer South and prepare for the chic J1 Beach, a beachfront destination with three beach clubs and nine restaurants. Highlights include Sirene Beach by Gaia, Bâoli with haute modern Japanese cuisine, and Gigi Rigolatto – a St Tropez hotspot.

Launch of Heat Alert in Abu Dhabi

Amid worsening climate change, Abu Dhabi will take a proactive stance with the launch of a Heat Alert. Matar Saeed Al Nuaimi, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre, unveiled the initiative as part of the capital’s Climate Change Strategy at COP 28. The alert aims to create action plans mitigating the impact of environmental factors on human well-being, reflecting the commitment to a sustainable future.

New flights: Connecting the world

Flydubai will kick off 2024 with new flights connecting the UAE to the Malaysian islands of Penang and Langkawi. Virgin Atlantic aims to increase its daily service between Heathrow and Dubai from October 2024, while Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will launch regular flights between Turkistan and Abu Dhabi three times a week.

Real Madrid World: Where dreams unite

Opening at Dubai Parks™ and Resorts, Real Madrid World will immerse visitors in the excitement, history, and passion of one of the world's greatest football clubs.

Chipotle Mexican grill: A taste of the Americas in Dubai

Chipotle Mexican Grill is expanding its global footprint by opening its inaugural restaurant in Dubai. Get ready to enjoy their diverse menu featuring tacos, burritos, and bowls.

Ed Sheeran live in Dubai

English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is set to captivate The Sevens Stadium on January 19 and 20 for the eagerly awaited ±=÷x Mathematics Tour, accompanied by tour guest Calum Scott.

Swingers Crazy Golf: A swinging party on Bluewaters Island

London’s popular crazy golf venue, Swingers, will open on Bluewaters Island. It's an adults-only venue with four nine-hole crazy golf courses, street food, an extensive drinks menu, and live DJs creating a party atmosphere.

MBZ-SAT: Most powerful imaging satellite

In mid-2024, the UAE is set to launch MBZ-SAT, a high-resolution commercial satellite developed at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC). This satellite features an automated 24/7 image arrangement system, poised to redefine global standards for commercial use. With rapid data sharing capabilities, it promises advancements in mapping, environmental monitoring, navigation, infrastructure management, and disaster relief.

Driving change: Restrictions on heavy vehicles

In a move to enhance road safety, a federal law approved by the UAE Cabinet will ban heavy vehicles weighing over 65 tonnes from UAE roads starting next year. As part of this initiative, a smart electronic gate system will be installed to measure and monitor the weights and dimensions of heavy vehicles, ensuring compliance with the new regulations.

Hamilton headed to Yas Island

Prepare for a musical extravaganza as the award-winning Hamilton makes its Middle East debut at Yas Island’s Etihad Arena. From January 17 to February 4, audiences will be treated to a unique blend of hip-hop, jazz, R&B, and Broadway.

Dubai to host 2024 World Cities Culture Summit

Dubai is set to solidify its status as a regional hub for culture and innovation by hosting the 2024 World Cities Culture Summit. The event, slated to be held from October 30 to November 1, 2024, will shine a spotlight on creative cities that leverage their potential for investment in cultural and creative industries, shaping the trajectory of the future.

World’s tallest hotel to open in Dubai

Get ready for the grand debut of Ciel, the world's tallest hotel, opening in the first quarter of 2024. Standing tall at 82 stories, this ambitious project by The First Group marks their largest and most complex development to date. The hotel's standout features include an observation deck on the 81st floor offering panoramic views of Dubai's skyline, the Palm Jumeirah, and the Arabian Gulf.

New British school in Dubai South

Dubai South has partnered with Bright Capital Investment to introduce the area's first school, offering a premiere British education from Foundation Stage 1 to Year 13 starting September 2024. The school, following the British curriculum, will span a 250,000 sq. ft. campus tailored for students aged 3 to 18.

Expo City Mall: Your next shopping destination

Get ready for an exciting shopping experience as Expo City Mall prepares to open next year. With over 190 shops and dining establishments, this vibrant destination is accessible from Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, Expo Road, and Jebel Ali Road. What's more, the dedicated Dubai Expo 2020 metro station ensures seamless connectivity for visitors attending the world's fair.

EV charging network to expand

In line with Dubai's commitment to green mobility, the city will witness a surge in public charging stations for electric vehicles. This initiative aligns with Dubai's overarching Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2050. The goal is clear: to generate 100% of the emirate’s power from clean energy sources and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, fostering a more sustainable and eco-friendly future.

New laws

2,000 procedures to be axed in zero bureaucracy push

In a move towards enhanced efficiency, the UAE is set to streamline government services by cancelling a minimum of 2,000 procedures. This initiative, part of the Zero Government Bureaucracy programme, aims to elevate the quality and flexibility of service delivery, signalling a commitment to a more agile and effective governance model.

New employment mandate for private sector companies

Starting in 2024, private sector companies with a workforce of 20 to 49 employees must hire at least one UAE citizen. Non-compliance will result in fines.

Labour law amendments: A new chapter begins

Effective January 1, amendments to Article 54 of the Labour Law will bring changes to employment dispute resolution. Both employers and employees must now file applications with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation for an amicable settlement before heading to court. The Ministry gains authority to issue final decisions for disputes involving less than Dh50,000 or non-compliance with a prior settlement.


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