Image from a poster for the contest showing Hayl Fort in Fujairah Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Here’s a fun and ‘rewarding’ way to enjoy winter in the UAE: Take snaps of your adventures across the seven emirates, submit and share them on social media, and stand a chance to win as much as Dh50,000.

Anyone above 18 years old can join in the second edition of the World’s Coolest Winter Photography Competition, launched on Monday by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Awards (HIPA), in collaboration with the UAE Government Media Office.

The competition is part of the second season of the World’s Coolest Winter campaign launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to encourage UAE citizens and residents “to explore the country’s hidden gems and promote the features that distinguish each of the seven emirates”.

Organisers said “the competition will highlight the UAE’s entertainment, culture and natural landmarks, and raise awareness about the variety of its tourism activities. It will celebrate the country’s creativity behind the lens by inviting people to capture the natural landscapes and diverse wildlife of the UAE”.

How to join

To enter the competition, all one has to do is to take a photo of their winter experience in the UAE. Participants must be above 18 years of age and submit their photos through the online registration page on HIPA’s website. They should also share their photo under the ‘One Photo’ category on their Instagram account while adding the campaign’s official hashtag #WorldsCoolestWinter.

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(From left) Ali Khalifa Bin Thalith, Secretary General of HIPA; Alia Al Hammadi, Deputy Chairperson of the UAE Government Media Office, and Abdulla Al Nuaimi, UAE Government Media office, at a press conference announcing the World's Coolest Winter Photography Contest on Monday in Dubai Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News


The competition has two main categories: First is One Photo, which is open to the public and covers five subcategories – Desert, Sea, Mountains, Valleys, and Emirates from Above.

The second category is Portfolio, which is exclusive to professional photographers and includes four subcategories – Emirates in Your Eyes, Emirates Wilderness, Faces from Emirates, and Street Life in Emirates.


The competition runs from Monday to January 20, 2022. The total prize money of the competition amounts to Dh250,000, distributed as Dh7,000 for each of the five subcategories under One Photo; and Dh50,000 for each of the four subcategories under Portfolio.

‘Share the beauty of the UAE’

Speaking to Gulf News during the competition launch, Alia Al Hammadi, deputy chairperson of the UAE Government Media Office, said: “The initiative aims to share the stories of the beauty of the UAE. Anyone can join submit photos of their adventures, whether as a solo traveller or enjoying with their family and friends. Everyone is welcome to join – amateurs, professionals and the general public, using the hashtag #WorldsCoolestWinter.”

UAE winter culture

HIPA secretary general Ali Khalifa Bin Thalith said: “Photographs strongly influence emotion and spark excitement, meaning they can make a significant impression on any audience. We are delighted to manage the World’s Coolest Winter Photography Competition, and strongly support the photography community here in the UAE, including hobbyists and professionals, to play a role in promoting UAE winter culture and tourism. I look forward to seeing their skills and talent competing for the prizes and also the experience and knowledge they have gained along the way.”


Photo submissions will be evaluated by a panel of expert judges, including John Stanmeyer, an American photojournalist who received the World Press Photo of the Year, and Barbara Davidson, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winning photographer from Canada.