View of Global Village Image Credit: ATIQ-UR-REHMAN

Dubai: The Global Village fair in Dubai is opening on Saturday with a series of new attractions and features, including a new funfair, food court, and three new country representations. The giant outdoor leisure and shopping destination is scheduled to open from October 5 to March 1, 2014. It is located on Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road (previously called Emirates Road).

The “all new” country themed pavilions this edition include newcomers Germany, Italy and France. This means 65 countries are now represented in 30 pavilions. Visitors can also purchase handmade goods, artefacts and snacks from 170 kiosks.

Also debuting is an entirely new rides and games section called Fantasy Island. The Global Village food court has also been revamped and expanded to include more variety. Additionally, a series of new shows, including those for children, have been lined up for the season’s 148 days.

This year marks the 18th edition of Global Village.

The entry ticket price has been increased to Dh15 from Dh10 this season. However, children under three years, individuals with special needs and visitors over 65 will continue to enter for free.

Global Village had in 2008 doubled the entry ticket price to Dh10.

Ahmed Hussain Bin Essa, Global Village’s executive director of operations, said the latest price increase “reflects and incorporates the efforts and additional value” of the fair’s latest season.

“Global Village management is confident that visitors will find their ticket better value than ever before when they visit this season,” it said in a statement.

The fair will run a number of promotions and deliver “value added special offers” throughout the season, including funfair vouchers. More details will be made available soon through its new upcoming website, www.globalvillage.ae

Global Village will also be running themed events to correspond with major festivals and celebrations – for Eid Al Adha, Diwali, National Day, Christmas and other occasions – during the five-month run.

As part of Eid festivities, Global Village will be open until 2am from October 10-19th and till 3am on October 14 and 15.

About five million people visit Global Village every year and officials hope to attract an even higher number this year.

Essa said: “Global Village remains a major tourism attraction where the world comes together to savour an amazing family entertainment and cultural attraction. It also plays a vital role as a catalyst for Dubai’s ongoing growth as a major tourism attraction for regional and international visitors while offering a great day out for local residents.”

Global Village is one of Dubai’s biggest brands and tourism destinations, with a team of over 10,000 people working for the establishment.

However, its history has not been incident-free.

In January, an Emirati visitor died after a metal bar from a Ferris wheel fell on his head in an accident. Three men were arrested in the case and the amusement section was shut down. The incident marked the second case of death in Global Village in the last three years.

According to media reports in March 2010, one person had died and 13 people were hurt when an entrance to the Indian pavilion collapsed.

In early 2005, a small fire had broken out on a dhow at Global Village. However, no injuries were reported from the incident.

Essa said the new amusement section is being brought to Global Village by UK fairground specialist operator Mellors, who have over 100 years experience and have put funfairs in place for the London Olympics and to support the celebrations of the wedding of Prince William and Katherine Middleton.

All rides are new and certified safe, he added. They also carry a safety and performance log attested by TUV. Essa explained that in addition to working with local authorities such as Dubai Municipality and Civil Defence on a daily basis, Global Village has also appointed a third-party safety inspector.

Commenting on the January fatality, Essa added: “It’s a tragedy what happened, our sympathies are with the family of the man… The Ferris wheel belonged to a previous operator. Now there’s a new operator, and all new rides.”

Also new this year is a shuttle bus service to the fair from the Dubai Metro Union Station.