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.
Dubai’s JW Marriott Marquis Hotel is world’s tallest hotel
By Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter
Published: Dec 17, 2012 11:12 AM
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Dubai: The city of superlatives has done it again with JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Dubai, claiming the world’s tallest hotel title, the latest addition to Dubai’s growing list of world records.
“We are excited and delighted to be officially recognised as the world’s tallest hotel. Dubai is a city of superlatives and the JW Marriott Marquis is an outstanding addition its iconic skyline,” said Rupprecht Queitsch, general manager of JW Marriott Marquis Hotel.
Located in the heart of Business Bay, the 355-metre JW Marriott Marquis Hotel was recently officially recognised by the Guinness World Record as the world’s tallest hotel. The iconic five-star hotel boasts of a height that’s almost half or 43 per cent of the height of Burj Khalifa.
The world’s tallest hotel title was previously held by the 333-metre tall Rose Rayhaan by Rotana on Shaikh Zayed Road, which opened in January 2010.
Dubai holds a number of Guinness World Records including the tallest building — the Burj Khalifa; the tallest residential building — Princess Tower; the largest shopping centre The Dubai Mall; the largest indoor ski-resort — Ski Dubai; to name a few.
Currently, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel ranks 28th in the world’s top 200 tallest buildings, and the sixth tallest building in Dubai, according to Emporis, a global database for building and construction information.
The 77-floor twin towers opened its first tower to guests last month. The hotel’s grand opening is scheduled in February 2013. His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in November ordered the implementation of the second phase of the project that is scheduled to be completed by 2014.
The hotel has 804 guest rooms with panoramic views in each tower, 14 restaurants, bars and lounges. It features more than 8,000 square metres of indoor and outdoor event space which includes two ballrooms.
“It’s sort of a small city within itself. Any business traveller can find everything he needs within the hotel itself,” Ashok Korgaonkar, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai’s leading architect, told Gulf News.
Korgaonkar said that when they designed the hotel in 2005, the primary goal was not just to come up with a good design but also to make it functional.
“We wanted the design to stand out in comparison to the surrounding buildings but we didn’t want purely aesthetics but also functionality. So the structure is basically the contemporary version of the trunk of the date palm tree which is part and parcel of the life in Arabian countries,” Korgaonkar said.
Eida receives certificate of record
13 Dec 2012
The Emirates Identity Authority (Eida) has officially received from the World Record Academy a certificate proving its possession of the world’s largest database of civil integrated biometrics within the UAE population register system.
During an official ceremony held in the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, a representative of the World Record Academy announced that the Emirates ID succeeded in gaining international recognition and achieving a record figure, the first of its kind in the world, with a total of over 103 million decimal and rolled fingerprints, prints of the palm and hand side in addition to over 15 million facial prints and digital signatures until mid of October 11.
Dr Ali Mohammed Al Khouri, Director-General of the Eida, presented this accomplishment achieved by the UAE to the prudent leadership under the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Al Khouri affirmed that this achievement of strategic dimensions to the UAE would not have been made possible without the support of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Shaikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor and Chairman of the Emirates Identity Authority, and without the close follow-up of Lieutenant-General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and Deputy Chairman of the Emirates Identity Authority.
The ceremony was attended by the directors of sectors, departmental directors and directors of organizational units at the Emirates ID. — KhaleejTimes.com