As a resident of the United Arab Emirates for over 20 years, I have seen the vibrant city of Dubai built before my eyes. Those of us who’ve made Dubai our second homes from across the world have seen how Dubai has changed progressively and grown exponentially over the past two decades as a hot spot destination for tourism and hospitality, a diverse business hub, and a magnet for skilled workforce from around the world.
When it comes to the Dubai skyline, we’re used to seeing skyscrapers being built – not burnt. It, therefore, came as a shock to me and all my friends whom I’ve known over the years to see The Address Hotel Downtown right opposite the Burj Khalifa next to the world’s biggest shopping destination, The Dubai Mall, go up in flames last night.
Today, the 1st of January 2016 – the day after the fire – as I’m typing this blog, the news reports are confirming that 12-hours later, there is still smoke coming out of the building. Last night, as the news was spreading virally on social media, I was wondering if the fireworks would go ahead. When the official Dubai Government Media Twitter account (@DXBMediaOffice) confirmed that the show will go on as planned, it was a relief to know that one incident (as serious as it may have been) will not stop the bigger occasion for which the entire country was looking forward to – not to mention the tens of thousands of visitors from around the world who come to see the world’s tallest building in Dubai.
The fireworks was streaming live on the official Downtown Dubai YouTube channel and Dubai put on a spectacular show starting from Burj Khalifa where the fireworks was on for about 7-minutes before proceeding on to another 8-minutes in the 7-star hotel Burj Al Arab, and finally for a breathtaking display at the Jumeirah Beach Residence skyline.
This is one of the busiest times of the year in Dubai, not only because it’s the holiday season but also because we have the best weather during the year in December/January and the Dubai Shopping Festival 2016 kicks off today.
For those of you reading this blog: if you haven’t visited Dubai for New Year’s celebrations yet, you’re missing one of the best destinations for NYE celebrations in the world. You don’t believe me? Just check out the video below to see what you’re actually missing.