Abu Dhabi: Some UAE residents might spend holiday seasons abroad, however, thousands of tourists from across the world prefer to come to the UAE for the holiday season drawn by its safe, friendly and welcoming environment.
Gulf News spoke to visitors about what brought them to the UAE.
Couple Amalie Schmidt, 45, working in sales, and Tom English, 46, product manager from Germany, did not want to travel a long distance to spend New Year.
“The UAE was a perfect choice, because it’s about six to seven hours of flying and convenient. I have visited the UAE about six times already and went to Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, but this is my first visit to Abu Dhabi,” said Schmidt.
English did some research on tourist sites before his first visit to the UAE. “This is an exciting time of the year to be here. Amalie and I visited Yas Island, Ferrari World and Emirates Palace. The weather is nice, and we wanted to spend the holidays away from cold and rainy Germany.”
“We’re planning to spend New Year’s at a special event in Sofitel, where we will be dining and then partying to celebrate New Year’s,” he said.
Schmidt and English both wished to be healthy, have fun in life, enjoy their jobs, make good money, and wished their families and loved ones good health, joy and happiness.
The Chi family from China arrived in UAE on Christmas Eve to spend their holidays.
“It’s our first visit to the UAE. It’s such a beautiful and peaceful country, and I’ve always told my husband and son I wanted to visit the UAE,” said 55-year-old housewife Qian Xuan Huang. “I’m very selective about my travel destinations, and I like big, smart and cosmopolitan cities like Dubai,” she said.
Her husband, 57-year-old electrical engineer Kang Yuan Chi, said his family is passionate about travelling during holidays.
“We were looking for a clean, safe and popular destination to spend New Year celebrations in, and the UAE was our perfect choice, as it enjoys great weather and Shanghai is currently very cold when we flew out.”
Tin Chi, 26, sales manager, recommended the UAE to his parents as the best destination for holidays.
“This country is just the perfect place to be for New Year. We are planning to drive to Dubai to watch the spectacular fireworks at Burj Khalifa and then dine in a nice restaurant in the same area,” he said.
Tin wished his parents good healthy long lives and is personally looking forward to a job promotion in 2017.
The Candua family from Trento in Italy had different plans this time for their holidays.
“We decided to spend Christmas away from home this year, and in the UAE for the first time. We arrived to Abu Dhabi on December 24 and did some sightseeing around the city.”
For New Year’s though, [we] want to fly back home,” said 58-year-old manager Salvatore.
52-year-old housewife Manuela said, “We want to celebrate New Year’s with our family and friends back home in Trento. We will be hosting our loved ones at home for a big party, enjoying delicious food and dancing the night way to good music while welcoming 2017.”
Alessia, 17, insisted she spend New Year’s back home. “I told my parents that I want to celebrate and party with my best friends, and I’m very excited to wear my new party outfit on this big day,” she said.
The Hellmesiters from Germany
Carola and Peter Hellmeister from Germany have a feeling of nostalgia for the UAE.
“I worked in the UAE from 2013 to April 2016 and I love this country, its people, the weather, everything about it. During that time, my wife would visit me every four weeks and spend time with me,” said 64-year-old manager Peter.
He added, “Because we admire this country, we decided to spend our holidays here. We arrived on Christmas Eve and are flying out to Germany on January 2, after our New Year celebrations, where my wife Carola and I are planning to go to a party in Jumeirah at Etihad Towers and enjoy the music and a nice dinner.”
Peter wised his wife Carola and two sons health, happiness and success at work, and is hoping to quit smoking in 2017.
From Curitiba in Brazil to Abu Dhabi
25-year-old Brazilian bioprocess engineer Marcela Ishii decided to spend Christmas and New Year holidays in the UAE, based on her friend’s recommendation.
“My friend and university classmate at Federal University of Parana, Vinicius Bueno, persuaded me to visit the UAE in the holiday season, so I flew to Abu Dhabi from Curitiba in Brazil on December 22. I visited Emirates Palace, Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Yas Mall, Yas Marina, Masdar City, Heritage Village and Marina Mall. I also went to Dubai and visited The Atlantis, Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, Miracle Garden, Burj Al Arab and the souq, and went camel riding which was fun,” she said.
Ishii added, “I prefer Abu Dhabi as it is more tranquil and has more of an Arabic and oriental lifestyle. However, for New Year’s, because it’s party time, Beueno and I are heading to Dubai to watch the fireworks at Burj Khalifa with some friends and then head to a nice lounge close by for a quick small gathering, because I have to catch a morning flight to Brazil at 7am, as I’m working the following day.”
Ishii hopes to move to the US in 2017 to develop her career and have a healthier lifestyle. she’s also saving money to take her parents on a trip to Peru next May.
24-year-old Vinicius Bueno, research assistant and bio process engineer from Brazil, is studying at Masdar on a master’s degree scholarship programme and hopes to graduate next May with distinction and apply for a PHD scholarship at McGill University or MIT, pursue a career in investment banking in Dubai and looks forward to applying for immigration to Canada. On a personal level, Bueno wants to be more fit and athletic and is currently saving money to go on an Asia tour in 2017.