light and fire: Maureen Molina’s shot of the dazzling fireworks at Burj Al Arab on New Year’s Eve Image Credit: Maureen Molina/ Gulf News Reader

Dubai: It's the biggest night of the year. And tourists from all over the world are flocking to Dubai to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

It’s the one night a year where the entire world comes alive. The one night a year, where people who hate crowds might tolerate having thousands of people around them, just to catch a glimpse of the world famous firework show.

Dubai joined London, New York and Sydney as a global New Year’s Eve Destination, just under a decade ago when it celebrated the 2011 New Year.

Burj Khalifa’s first ever New Year’s Eve firework display was, in typical Dubai fashion, an attempt to break the record for the highest firework show in the world, with 1,000-metre high fireworks that kicked off just before midnight.

Gulf News delved back into our archives and dug out a quote from then Prisme International CEO, the company handling the Burj Khalifa’s first ever New Year’s Eve firework show, Pierre Marcout.

NYE Dubai extravaganza

He said back in December 2010, "London, Sydney and New York are all known for their December 31 extravaganzas. Dubai, too, will be on that list."

And he was right.

At the stroke of midnight, Dubai joined an exclusive club of world cities whose landmarks are iconic in bringing in the New Year.

A report by Agooda revealed that UAE residents chose Dubai as their top destination of choice to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Dubai clinched highest spot for the fourth consecutive year that they have conducted this survey.

Dnata’s Head of Retail and Product, Emily Williams also confirmed that despite the large amount of traveling done by UAE residents during New Year’s Eve, many of them like to stay here.

“UAE travellers are certainly travelling abroad more, and more adventurously. Yet, domestic travel within the UAE remains the most popular choice.

World class

"With a wealth of world-class hotels and resorts on our doorstep, it isn’t surprising that residents across the country want to experience the long-standing, iconic properties and latest openings for themselves.”

Shamia Abdul Aziz, the Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications at Sofitel Dubai the Palm explained that occupancy is extremely high at this time of year.

“Our occupancy is sitting at over 90 per cent. Guests often book to stay with us throughout the festive period along with celebrating the New Year. Our hotel sees a high occupancy from the UK market, closely followed by France, Belgium, Russia, Switzerland, Germany and UAE residents.”

Another Palm hotel, The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, is going through similar experiences. “The fact that Dubai is one of the top destinations during this time of year for visitors, is reflected in the strong occupancy we have,” said David Wilson, the General Manager of the hotel to Gulf News.

“The UK remains our top market followed by Germany, Switzerland, Italy and even the US. We also have a lot of UAE residents of various nationalities enjoying staycations with us over the festive season through to New Year’s Eve.”

Paula Tannous, Commercial Director at Caesars Bluewaters Dubai said to Gulf News: “Business is strong over New Year’s Eve and we expect to sell out. Our guests are predominantly from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia, Ukraine, the UK, Germany, the USA, China and India.

Location: Big selling point

"Our location is also a big selling point. We are located on Bluewaters Island, which means we have views of Ain Dubai, the island’s major attraction which is set to be the world’s tallest observation wheel when it is completed in time for Expo 2020 Dubai. We’re also looking forward to seeing the Bluewaters skies come alight,” she said speaking of the fireworks planned to go off at midnight over The Beach.

For more inner city hotels, bookings are also a high. Gulf News spoke to the Director of Revenue Management, Fairmont Dubai, Nelson Riffard, who said "At Fairmont Dubai we anticipate a very busy week ahead of the December 31, leading up towards the post-New Year’s Eve weekend, with more bookings confirmed in advance as compared to last year and strong pick up over the last weeks. With our occupancy rates steadily rising day after day, we expect the positive trend to continue and the hotel to sell out over the New Year’s Eve period.”

Many factors contribute to Dubai being a top destination for New Year’s Eve:

Firework Displays across the Emirate

Burj Al Arab fireworks 2-1576932630694
1 JANUARY 2014 NATION NEW YEAR FIRE WORKS NATIONPublick watching spectacular Fire works at Burj Al Arab during new year 2014 celebration in Dubai.PHOTO:Atiq-ur-Rehman

People in the uae just love fireworks. Every year, Dubai gears up for glittering displays all over the emirate, including at the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Atlantis the Palm, Dubai Festival City, La Mer, Al Seef, The Beach and for the first time this year, the Dubai Frame. The fireworks are usually quite spectacular in Dubai and can be seen from distances. Thousands of people gather to see the bright shows, whether in Downtown Dubai for the Burj Khalifa, sunset beach for the Burj Al Arab, or Palm Jumeirah for the Atlantis. Abdul Aziz confirms that many guests booked at Sofitel Dubai the Palm not just because of the resorts many luxury facilities but also because following dinner, the guests will be able to see the Palm fireworks at midnight.

Additionally Tannous explains that “In Dubai, New Year’s Eve and fireworks are pretty much synonymous. The city is known for hosting a magnificent display of lights every year that attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators around the world.”

There’s so much happening in Dubai

The Gulf News website has listed over 70 different places to celebrate New Year’s Eve across the UAE, the majority of those in Dubai, and this isn’t even the half of it. New Year’s Eve is such a big deal in Dubai, almost every restaurant, nightclub, beach club and concert hall takes part.

Barasti Beach is set to host Dutch star, DJ Fedde Le Grand for a musical performance at the beachside venue, while two British superstar DJs Jonas Blue and Jax Jones are set to take over Zero Gravity. Emirates Golf Club is welcoming the New Year with an old-school vibe, as tribute acts to the King of Rock, Elvis Presley, and the Queen of Pop, Madonna take the stage.

Bollywood fans can head to Zabeel Park to enjoy a New Year’s Eve under the stars while celebrating some of India’s top hits with family and friends. Additionally, Zabeel Park will offer an array of food stalls, activities and celebrities including television personality Simran Ahuja who will be hosting the Bollywood get-together along with a live DJ performance.

The Bollywood New Year’s Eve theme extends to Crowne Plaza Hotel, where visitors will enjoy The ‘Party Tonite ’ 19, a yearly event hosted at the Ballroom.

The Address Dubai Marina will host a 10-hour celebration inviting visitors to dine and dance across different venues until sunrise, while Emerald Palace Kempinski is hosting a four-hour bash at Palm Jumeirah offering a four-course dinner along with the tunes from DJ Chris Wright.

Meanwhile, The Irish Village will be hosting live entertainment from two of the venue’s most popular acts, the ‘Yeah Yeah Nah’s’ and ‘DJ Marky Mark’. And this is just the beginning.

Festive season in Dubai is on steroids this year, which residents and tourists love

With decorations, activities and the Dubai Shopping Festival falling right in the middle of festive season, the city becomes extra welcoming to visitors and locals.

“Dubai is a fantastic destination for New Year’s Eve and for the festive season in general. The tourism industry comes together to create a spectacular celebration for visitors and residents. From decorations, special events and activities to fabulous dining, shopping and entertainment venues, Dubai offers something for everyone to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

"Let us not forget the weather which is also glorious this time of year making everything more memorable,” Wilson told Gulf News.

Speaking of the weather… It’s just fantastic this time of the year

Ask people why they love spending New Year’s Eve in Dubai? Well it’s because you can wake up and spend the day by the pool, then wear a light jacket for the balmy 22 degree evening.

The weather at this time is usually very pleasant with partly cloudy skies during the days around the New Year. Temperatures across the UAE are expected to be in the mid to high 20s. Why should you freeze while enjoying the fireworks, or walking around outside?

UAE Residents speak:

Kimberley Mendonca

Image Credit: Supplied

I am staying in Dubai for New Year’s Eve. Other than being one of the best times to actually be in the city weather wise, New Year’s Eve in Dubai for me is being equivalent to being in the middle of Times Square waiting for the ball drop. People flock to the city from all over the world to witness the record-breaking fireworks displays all over Dubai.

It’s like the whole city comes to life as one big party to begin the New Year with a bang. Being born and brought up in this wonderful city, I may show the city a little partiality, but why would you want to be anywhere else?

New Years Eve for me is when family and friends come together, countdown to midnight, dance and waiting for the fireworks display to kick-start the New Year together.

Mert Turkmen

Image Credit: Supplied

I think there is no other better place to be than Dubai for New Year’s Eve. I think Dubai is the most famous city in the world when it comes to New Year’s Eve activities, especially because of the firework displays all over the emirate and many other outdoor activities that are available during this time of year. The weather is perfect this time of the year.

Gokhan Girmez

Image Credit: Supplied

I will stay in Dubai for New Year’s Eve. I am actually going to be working, but luckily my work is very fun. Also, working on December 31, you’ll make good money.

To be honest I would have preferred to be with my family, but sometimes if you want to be successful in your career, you need to sacrifice.

I know that most people love going to Dubai for the Burj Khalifa fireworks. It has become a symbol of New Year’s Eve. Also Dubai has a fantastic nightlife, so I get why so many people love to come here.

Sara El Hawary

Image Credit: Supplied

I will be staying in Dubai for New Year’s Eve. What I love about December 31 in Dubai is that there is a huve variety of parties as well as other options of things to do, ranging from watching fireworks, to concerts, lounges, seated dinners. There plenty of ways to celebrate for every budget. I still haven’t decided on how I will spend New Year’s Eve, but it’s nice to know I live in a place, where I can literally do anything on the spectrum.

Anjali Rajvardhan

Image Credit: Supplied

I think, Dubai is one of the most happening cities to be in for the New Year. I am spending my New Year’s Eve right here in Dubai. I love watching firework displays, and New Year’s Eve without fireworks is definitely incomplete. Here you have so many options.

The best fireworks that I have witnessed here so far was at Burj Khalifa, Atlantis the Palm and Festival City. Plus being a foodie and party lover myself, I love the crazy party and going out to eat on NYE. My best New Year’s Eve yet was last year at the Barasti party.