Big Bang welcome to 2013: Record 1.7m attend Downtown Dubai New Year’s Eve Gala

Over 2 billion watched event 'live' on TV and streamed on internet

The Downtown Dubai New Year’s Eve Gala surpassed global New Year’s Eve celebrations with a record 1.7 million visitor turnout, as per official estimates. The event was also telecast via live satellite feed to over 1,000 global television channels, and live streamed to reach over 2 billion people.

The record visitor numbers for the event in Downtown Dubai, more than the reported 1 million visitors at New York’s Times Square, underlined the Dubai gala as one of the world’s most attended New Year’s celebrations.

Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties and Dubai Events Council, said that the Downtown Dubai New Year’s Eve Gala has become the must-visit attraction for visitors from around the world, reiterating Dubai’s leading position as the world’s premier tourism and events destination. “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,” he said.

Explosions of colour shot out of the world's tallest building, Dubai's Burj Khalifa, illuminating the emirate's sky as the huge expatriate and tourist hub celebrated the New Year.

Fireworks engulfed the 828-metre (2,716-foot) tower, synchronised and choreographed to a live performance by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

Hours before the clock struck 00:00 am in Dubai, massive crowds had gathered in the area surrounding the tower watching a spectacular light show that accompanied the Czech band's classical hits.

Video uploaded on YouTube video by PakistaniDrama2013

Fireworks also flashed across several other parts of Dubai and the capital Abu Dhabi.

At the tower, Rami, a Jordanian resident told AFP: "This is a very special event. We came to see it after all we had heard about it."

Spectacular light and sound show in Dubai Downtown on New Year's Eve, as captured by Sama Dubai channel, part of DMI group.

A window table for the New Year event on the 122nd floor of the building at Atmosphere -- a restaurant 422 metres (1,350 feet) up in Burj Khalifa -- Dh16,000 ($4,300) per person.

Over the past few years, Dubai has become a permanent fixture on the world map of New Year celebrations, displaying spectacular shows since the opening of Burj Khalifa in 2010.

The UAE is home to around 8.2 million people, the majority of them expatriates.

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