Dubai laid claim to putting on the world’s greatest fireworks display on New Year’s Eve, with more than two billion people tuning in world-wide to watch the event centred on the Burj Khalifa tower.
Close to a million residents and tourists, many gathered in Dubai’s Downtown area from 5pm, saw what organizers said was “arguably the best display on the planet.”
The huge fireworks display was synchronized and choreographed to a live performance from the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, which performed classical music at the Burj Steps. The event also featured love dance performances, videos highlighting the UAE’s multicultural society and a gigantic 200metre screen.
“It was incredible, the best I have ever seen,” said Amanda Jones, visiting from the UK. She added: “The great thing about it was the buildup. It wasn’t just fireworks at midnight, we were treated to a full show long before.”
Mohamed Khalaf, who was in Dubai with his family from Kuwait, said: “We always watched it on the television and to be honest I didn’t think it would be better than Sydney, but I think this year Dubai managed to be number one. The atmosphere in Downtown from 5pm was just amazing.”
Longer opening hours for the Dubai Metro and new traffic regulations meant far less of the congestion seen in previous years, with many residents largely praising the organizational side of the event.
“Look it’s always going to be busy if you put a million people in the same place, but it wasn’t chaos, it looked well planned,” said David Turner, visiting Dubai from New York.