'Unforgettable evening': UAE New Year's Eve a magnet for visitors from around the world

Tourists make a beeline to iconic fireworks, dazzling laser shows, and entertainment events

by

Nasreen Abdulla

/

Angel Tesorero

/

Waad Barakat

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Spectacular fireworks on the New Year's Eve at Sheikh Zayed Festival, Abu Dhabi. Photo by Shihab
Spectacular fireworks on the New Year's Eve at Sheikh Zayed Festival, Abu Dhabi. Photo by Shihab

Published: Mon 1 Jan 2024, 12:33 AM

Last updated: Mon 1 Jan 2024, 9:29 PM

Every New Year's Eve, UAE becomes a global magnet, drawing visitors from all over the world who converge to witness the record-breaking fireworks, awe-inspiring drone shows and spectacular concerts in the Emirates. 2023 was no different; tourists from around the world flew into the UAE to take advantage of the wide variety of entertainment programs the country had to offer for New Year's Eve (NYE).

While some headed to the Burj Khalifa's highly anticipated iconic fireworks, others made a beeline to Abu Dhabi to enjoy the Sheikh Zayed Festival, which showed a first-of-its-kind laser display and entertaining performances.

Friends Greg Dao and David Sanchez were visiting the city from Paris and embarked on a cycling adventure along Jumeirah Beach to experience Dubai on NYE. After the ride, the duo joined a gathering at a friend's house with colourful decorations, laughter, music, and delicious food.

Greg Dao and David Sanchez. Photo: Waad Tesorero
Greg Dao and David Sanchez. Photo: Waad Tesorero

Dubai rings in the new year with several festivities, featuring dazzling fireworks illuminating various landmarks such as the Burj Al Arab and Global Village. Seven spectacular pyrotechnic displays marked Global Village's NYE celebrations. The city also welcomed numerous international celebrities, including British rockstar Sting, to grace the New Year's Eve festivities.

"Espectacular" new year

For the Tovio family, it was a culmination of months of planning that found them at the foot of the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, ready to usher in 2024 with a bang.

The family travelled from Panama and couldn't keep calm as they took their seats as early as 2pm at a restaurant table they had booked months ago.

Tovio family. Photo: Angel Tesorero
Tovio family. Photo: Angel Tesorero

This was the first time for Eduardo Tovio, his wife Leydi Rodriguez and their daughter Andrea Tovio, who were visiting Dubai, and they had just one Spanish word to describe the city: "Espectacular". For them, their day began with a visit to At The Top, Burj Khalifa, where they enjoyed a panoramic view of the city from 1,821 feet.

The eight-hour wait for the iconic fireworks display was everything they had ever hoped for, and they reckoned it was worth the wait.

Meanwhile, for Iranian tourist Bahar Tavakooli and her mother, Fatmeh, their dream seats to watch the world-famous fireworks show at Burj Khalifa cost a whopping $2000.

Bahar Tavakooli and her mother, Fatmeh. Photo: Angel Tesorero
Bahar Tavakooli and her mother, Fatmeh. Photo: Angel Tesorero

The duo, who are visiting the UAE for the first time, saved up to make enough money for the seats. They arrived as early as 2pm and were prepared for the revelry. Bahar wore a red Santa suit, and her mother had a New Year’s Eve hat. "With the best view of Burj Khalifa, we will definitely have the best time of our lives," said the mother and daughter.

A dream destination

Lithuanian visitor Victoria and her daughter Aušrinė are spending their first-ever NYE in Dubai. "We have been planning to come to the UAE for many years," said Victoria. "This year, I realized that I had a few days off, so we decided to embark on our dream trip."

Victoria and her daughter Aušrinė. Photo: Nasreen Abdulla
Victoria and her daughter Aušrinė. Photo: Nasreen Abdulla

For Aušrinė, Dubai feels like a dream city. "It is almost like an alternative reality where everything is big, bold and in 3-D," she said. The duo, who caught the first fireworks at Global Village, had an ambitious plan. "We will head out to another location to see more fireworks. Maybe the Burj Al Arab or Burj Khalifa, depending on where we get a taxi to."

Mohamed Semra and Sufian Mohamed. Photo: Waad Barakat
Mohamed Semra and Sufian Mohamed. Photo: Waad Barakat

For friends Mohamed Semra and Sufian Mohamed from Melbourne, Australia, it was an unforgettable evening at one of Dubai's landmark destinations. Despite their short visit, they planned their visit to spend NYE at Jumeirah Beach. Hoping to beat traffic, the duo decided to stay closer to the beach rather than venturing downtown. They witnessed the mesmerising laser show by the Burj Al Arab and then fireworks at midnight.

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