DUBAI // Breaking the world record for the largest fireworks display will showcase the emirate as a destination and help to attract tourists, experts say.
The extravaganza marked “the end of a momentous year for Dubai in which the undeniable highlight was the UAE’s winning bid to host World Expo 2020”, said Dr Ahmad Belhoul, chief executive of Strategy and Tourism Sector Development at Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.
He said there was no doubt about the benefits the New Year’s Eve shows would bring.
“The pyrotechnic displays at Palm Jumeirah, Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab and at Dubai Festival City all have a part to play in ensuring that Dubai is established in the minds of residents and visitors as one of the most exciting and entertaining destinations in the world in which to see in the new year,” Dr Belhoul said.
With the record-breaking display being televised around the world, he said the celebrations would “not only attract thousands of visitors to Dubai and make a significant contribution to our travel and hospitality sectors, but will also … help to attract new travellers to our city for generations to come”.
Stephan Schupbach, general manager of the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel on the Palm, said the fireworks display was “fantastic” for the man-made island and the emirate. The hotel had 1,200 guests and 2,000 visitors at its various outlets to see in the new year.
“Dubai is an expensive destination but as long as we can continue to offer these kinds of events, it all helps,” Mr Schupbach said.
One family had travelled from San Francisco for just three days for the spectacular, he said.
More than 78,000 fireworks had to successfully explode to beat the record set by Kuwait last year. The crescent of the Palm alone had more than 100,000 fireworks set up, plus 300,000 spread across the island and the World Islands for the six-minute show.
Though Guinness World Record officials confirmed it was indeed the largest fireworks display in the world, its team was inspecting the sites on Wednesday to do a final count of how many fireworks exploded.
But not everyone was able to enjoy the show. Elizabeth McAllister, a resident of the Palm, encountered chaos. She bought a ticket to Sandance at Atlantis before the record attempt had been announced and in hindsight she wishes she had not.
“I drove off the Palm to go to the American University of Dubai to get the shuttle bus. I boarded the bus at 8 and by 11, was still sitting on the bus and hadn’t even passed my own house,” she said. “We’d driven 5 kilometres. We knew we weren’t even going to make it in time for the fireworks so we just got off the bus and walked to my house, but the fireworks were half an hour late so everyone had already done with celebrating by the time they went off.
“If I’d realised this was going to be happening the same night as Sandance I’d never have bought a ticket.”
The event’s choreographer, Phil Grucci, said safety was of paramount concern, which led to the show being delayed.
“There were a few traffic snags on the Palm so we erred on the side of safety and there were other shows going on at the time anyway, so we decided if we couldn’t do it at midnight we’d do it at the next available slot, 12.30, to allow for the complications to clear out.
“The first objective was that not only was it entertainment but it was safe for the people of Dubai.”
Though it took 10 months of planning, it will take only 11 days for 200 pyrotechnicians to dismantle the display.
“It was a great honour to produce what we produced last night and it’s well deserved for the people of Dubai,” Mr Grucci said.
Fireworks were also a highlight of the celebrations in Sharjah. At Al Majaz Waterfront, a laser clock counted down to midnight, with a huge display highlighting the evening for tourists and residents.
The Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi unveils 170m-long statistical map for National Day
ABU DHABI // The Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi has documented the astounding growth of the city over the decades with what it says is the world’s largest statistical map.
Called Abu Dhabi Over Half a Century, the 170m-long display, located close to Marina Mall, details the significant developments in the capital’s history.
Statisticians spent two years collecting data documenting the socioeconomic rise of Abu Dhabi between the 1960s and 2012 for the project, which is open to the public until December 7, with free admission.
“It captures all the major turning points from all the decades,” said Sameth Raafat, a statistician with the centre. “It highlights how we’ve grown in the last 50 years.”
Visitors to the outdoor exhibit were presented with a beautifully packaged collection of books – one for each decade – chronicling the city’s rise to power.
The first book opens with a quote from Sheikh Zayed: “History is a continuum of events, the present only an extension of the past. So he who does not know his past cannot make the best of his present or future, for it is from the past that we learn.”
Kashif Hussain, a 27-year-old Pakistani who has lived in Abu Dhabi for nearly two years, said the exhibit was a good addition to the National Day celebrations.
“It’s important so we know the history of UAE,” Kashif said.
Vasu Deevi, a 30-year-old Indian who was strolling along the timeline map with his wife, Sireesha, also praised the project.
“This is fantastic, you can see how they grew,” Vasu said. “Even the design, it’s very nice.”
The Abu Dhabi Over Half a Century books are also available online at scad.ae
Red Bull Flugtag returns with a splash in 2013. Fearless men and women around the world will be launching themselves off a series of terrifyingly high platforms in self-constructed flying machines that range from the sensible to the what-on-earth-were-you-thinking?
Dubai Mall’s 820-metre walkway is step in right direction for shoppers
DUBAI // An air-conditioned pavement in the sky measuring close to a kilometre in length has become the latest feature at Dubai Mall.
The glass-enclosed walkway, with its 10 airport-style travelators, runs from the second floor of the world’s biggest shopping mall to the Burj Khalifa Metro station. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to walk the length of it.
“At 820 metres, the Metro link is one of the longest of its kind,” said Ahmad Al Matrooshi, managing director of Emaar Properties.
“The direct connection with the Dubai Metro … will help in reducing traffic and enable visitors to simply walk across from the station to Dubai Mall.”
The walkway and its 70 to 120metre-long travelators can accommodate more than 13,500 pedestrians an hour. It also provides access to Souq Al Bahar, Emaar Square and Emaar Boulevard.
The designers say they were inspired by traditional Arabian latticing known as Mashrabiya, which can be seen in their use of projecting windows and stained glass panels.
Marina Salvaridi, a tourist from Russia, said the walkway was convenient for newcomers like herself who struggled to find their way around.
“This direct access from the station ensures I do not get lost,” she said. “It is also good because we are out of the heat.”
Lea Distrito, a shop attendant in Dubai Mall, said it was great to get a little exercise.
“Also, it’s nice to be able to see from the windows the other landmarks in the area as we head to the mall.”
For Smita Baser, the walk was too exhausting. The mother of two, who has lived in Dubai for 10 years, usually takes one of the feeder buses that operate between the station and the mall’s entrance.
“If I were alone, it would be fine. But it is a little tiring with two children in tow,” said Ms Baser.
“I thought I’d take this because they were promoting it at the information desk. I did not realise it would be such a long walk.”
UAE’s first satellite atlas launched: http://bit.ly/Vxcdep
By Shafaat Shahbandari, Staff Reporter
Published: Jan 13, 2013 8:11 PM
Dubai: The UAE’s first atlas based on satellite images from DubaiSat 1 has been launched by Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST).
The atlas, built entirely by a team of Emirati cartographers, engineers and researchers, is the first of its kind in the UAE and uses most updated live images.
From the skyscrapers of Dubai to the emptiest expanse of Rub Al Khali, the atlas covers the entire country and gives a bird’s eye view of every corner of the UAE.
“Our idea is to let people see the recourses we have and to give them a different view about the UAE and in the long run we feel this atlas could be used in schools and universities,” said Khalid Al Suwaidi, assistant researcher at EIAST and a member of the team that compiled the atlas.
The 127 page compilation includes 70 high quality images of 2.5m resolution each, showing various areas of the country in great detail, while a graphic road map compares each image, giving additional information.
“We have chosen the best and most recent pictures out of the archive of 9,000 images that we have, so that people can see the recent developments of the country,” said Ammar Al Muhair, who is the leader of the that worked on the project.
According to EIAST, the images in the atlas are more recent than those found on Google Earth and other websites.
Some of the most striking images in the atlas are of the Ferrari World, Saadiyat Island, Palm Islands and Al Maktoum International Airport.
The task, which took eight months to complete, beginning from April 2012, wasn’t as easy as selecting pictures and printing them.
“We had people from different departments working together. First of all we had to look for images that didn’t have any errors or clouds in them, then we needed to make sure the image is recent and then we processed it. We did this for all 70 pictures one by one and the task wasn’t as easy as it sounds,” said Obaid Al Shehi, another assistant researcher and member of the team.
On a number of occasions more than one image had to be merged together to get the best product out, each covering a distance of 20 square kilometres.
The atlas, which is in Arabic, covers 83,600 square kilometres, and will be out in the market next month.
Jawahir Jassim Al Mansoori, a graphic designer who worked on the atlas page by page since the beginning said: “It was a very hard beginning, especially that I was working alone on such a huge project. But I accepted this as a challenge and I received great support from my colleagues. Since I was the graphic designer, I had put different ideas of how the atlas was going to look like before putting all my ideas in order and started designing the cover which symbolises DubaiSat-1’s position up in space providing the country with all these satellite images. I feel extremely proud of this project which I dedicate entirely to our UAE leadership.”
An English version of the atlas is also in the pipeline, which will be complete with updated images and additional details.
Dubai Ruler visits world’s first facility dedicated to A380
DUBAI // Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, toured the new Emirates Airbus A380 Concourse 3 yesterday.
Sheikh Mohammed was joined by his son, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai – among many other dignitaries, ministers and higher officials – during his inspection.
They were briefed by Khalifa Al Zafeen, chief executive officer of Dubai Aviation City.
Concourse 3 is 650 metres long and 90 metres wide with 11 storeys, four of them underground, according to Mr Al Zafeen.
There are automated passenger transport points for arrivals and departures.
During his one-hour visit, Sheikh Mohammed toured gates dedicated to lining up Airbus 380s, which were equipped with loading bridges for passengers to move between the planes and the terminal.
There are six additional gates for planes parked further away.
Concourse 3 has first and business-class lounges, four- and five-star hotels and a mall with 40 counters to follow flights and airlines. An internal metro carries passengers to and from Terminal 3, which is dedicated to Emirates Airlines flights.
It also connects to Terminal 2, which has a capacity for 19 million passengers annually. Overall, Concourses 2 and 3 will have a capacity for 43 million passengers annually.
Sheikh Mohammed wandered through the arrivals hall of Terminal 3 and inspected the counters.
At the end of his trip, he took the Metro to Burj Khalifa, describing the rail network as “the project of the century”.
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/transport/dubai-ruler-visits-world-s-first-facility-dedicated-to-a380#ixzz2HAOVIB3o
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1.7m revellers ring in 2013 at Downtown Dubai
Number of visitors surpassed that of New York and Sydney’s New Year’s Eve revellers
- By Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter
- Published: 14:17 January 2, 2013
- Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News
- People secure their vantage points for the fireworks at the Burj Khalifa.
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 www.mydowntowndubai.com and www.youtube.com/downtowndubai, 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.
UAE leads Middle East in manufacturing competitiveness
Abdul Basit / 27 December 2012
The UAE ranked top among the most competitive manufacturing nations in the Middle East and the country is expected to continue the leading position in the next five years, according to Deloitte — a global consultancy and financial advisory firm.
In the region, three countries made the list of the most competitive manufacturing countries, including the UAE on top with 3.93 index score, followed by Saudi Arabia at 3.57 score, and Egypt scored 3.24 in the 2013 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index report from Deloitte’s Manufacturing Industry group and the US Council on Competitiveness
Globally, the UAE ranked 30, Saudi Arabia at 34 and Egypt at 36 in the Deloitte index. The UAE will remain on top position in the next five year, according to Deloitte.
“UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are expected to move up in ranking five years from now,” said Bakr Abulkhair, chairman and managing partner at Deloitte & Touche Bakr Abulkhair & Company, Saudi Arabia.
“The identified key dividers between established and emerging manufacturing markets, in the Deloitte report, should provide insights to Middle East countries and manufacturers to assist them in bridging gaps with developed manufacturing markets and building capabilities and economic and political infrastructures to drive growth and job creation in our region,” he added.
The report indicated that over the next five years, 20th-century manufacturing advocates like the US, Germany and Japan will be challenged to maintain their competitive edge to emerging nations such as China, India and Brazil.
The study confirms that the landscape for competitive manufacturing is in the midst of a massive power shift — based on an in-depth analysis of survey responses from more than 550 chief executive officers (CEOs) and senior leaders at manufacturing companies around the world.
The data reveals several divisions in competitiveness between established manufacturing players and their emerging counterparts. It said traditional manufacturing stalwarts are perceived to have an advantage with respect to talent-driven innovation. Emerging manufacturing nations will likely struggle to be competitive in regards to their legal systems, according to the report.
Established manufacturing nations scored far better than emerging manufacturing nations when it came to local economic, trade, financial and tax systems.
The report further said that superior healthcare systems will likely give established manufacturing nations a distinct advantage over emerging players, thanks to their access to quality care and regulatory policies for public health.
When looking at labour costs and availability, stalwart manufacturing nations find themselves squarely on the defensive. The newest of the emerging superpowers have a long way to go when it comes to supplier networks. Newer manufacturing players face an uphill battle when it comes to physical infrastructure competitiveness.
“The emerging superpowers in manufacturing will focus on building the advanced manufacturing capabilities and economic and political infrastructures that drive rapid growth and high value jobs for their citizens, forcing 20th century manufacturing powerhouses to fend off the growing strength of more focused global competitors,” said Craig Giffi, vice-chairman, Deloitte United States (Deloitte LLP) and consumer and industrial products industry leader, who co-authored the report and led the research-team.
The report found that access to talented workers is the top indicator of a country’s competitiveness — followed by a country’s trade, financial and tax system, and then the cost of labor and materials.
“Nothing was more important to CEOs than the quality, availability and productivity of a nation’s workforce to help them drive their innovation agendas,” said Giffi. “Enhancing and growing an effective talent base remains core to competitiveness among the traditional manufacturing leaders — and increasingly among emerging market challengers as well,” Giffi added.
Gulf News Fun Drive gears up to create world record
By Sharmila Dhal, Senior reporter, XPRESS
Published: Dec 27, 2012 3:41 AM
- Image Credit: Gulf News Archives
- XXXXX: Participants enjoying during the Fun Drive 2012
Photo 1 of 1
Dubai: Here’s a chance to get into the Guinness World Records. All you have to do is join in the Gulf News Overnighter Fun Drive on January 11 and 12 and throw your weight in a record attempt that could end up being the “largest convoy of off-road vehicles”.
The effort will be verified and certified by representatives of Guinness World Records who are being specially flown in for the event.
The Fun Drive, sponsored by Al Futtaim Motors – Toyota, will start on January 11 from The Sevens, where participants will check in beginning at 6am. The first car will leave at 7.30am for the eight-hour drive to reach the camp by 4pm. Once there, they will stay overnight and drive home the next day after breakfast.
In its 32nd edition since its launch in 1986, the Fun Drive has been designed to give residents a chance to experience the desert. From 75 four-wheel drives in its first year it grew to 750 cars when it became an overnight event.
This year’s route is uncharted with over 95 per cent of it being off-road.
Highlights include sighting of gazelles along the route.
The drive is being held with the support of the Emirates Motor Sports Federation. Around 60 marshals will be present to assist participants.
A team of 300 Gulf News personnel will also man checkpoints and take care of organisational details. The International Automobile Touring Club will be in charge of recovery.
Entry is open to all, but preference will be given to Gulf News subscribers. It is for four-wheel drive vehicles only with a maximum of four passengers plus driver. Registration can be done daily from 9am to 2pm at the Gulf News offices on Shaikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Abu Dhabi and Al Ain participants can register at the Gulf News offices between 9am and 2pm on working days only (Sunday-Thursday). The rates: Dh300 per adult and Dh175 per child.