People secure their vantage points for the fireworks at the Burj Khalifa. Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News

Dubai: The Downtown Dubai New Year’s Eve Gala has achieved a new feat for being the world’s most attended New Year’s celebrations with a visitor turnout of 1.7 million revellers to ring in 2013.

The Burj Khalifa’s dazzling pyrotechnic display attracted 1.7 million visitors on December 31 according to official estimates, which is a big leap from the estimated “hundreds of thousands of revellers” that attended the event last year.

The emirate’s official New Year’s Eve Gala was also telecast live via satellite to more than 1,000 global television channels, and live streamed on and, reaching more than two billion people.

Downtown Dubai’s New Year visitors surpassed that of the reported one million revellers at New York’s Time Square, and the estimated 1.5 million people who reportedly poured in to watch the fireworks display at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. In London, local media reported an estimated 250,000 revellers who descended on the capital to watch the pyrotechnic display that featured 12,500 fireworks.

“The event underlines the positive vision that Dubai upholds by serving as a beacon of hope for people and highlighting the happiness and robust outlook that the city brings,” said Mohammad Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties and Dubai Events Council, and organiser of the event.

Before the New Year countdown, revellers were treated to a water, fire and light show on the Burj Lake. This year’s pyrotechnic display that illuminated the Burj Khalifa was synchronised to a live performance of the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, a first ever feat in the emirate.

The huge turnout made traffic on the main roads leading to Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall move at a snail’s pace. More than 500,000 commuters used the Dubai Metro which operated round-the-clock to help ease traffic congestion on New Year’s Eve.