x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Dubai's towering responsibility to its residents

With Burj Khalifa set to become an end-of-year destination for residents and tourists alike, improved security, logistics and transport are paramount.

New York has Times Square and the ball drop. London welcomes the new year in Trafalgar Square and with fireworks on the Thames. And Australians celebrate in the backdrop of the spectacular Sydney Harbour. As of January 1, 2011, you can add a new icon to that list.

As many as half a million revellers thronged to the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, as it ushered its first New Year's Day with a stunning fireworks display.

"It was amazing, awesome, absolutely brilliant. I've never seen anything like it. I'm posting the pictures on Facebook right now," said Lester Apacible, a 25-year-old Filipino on holiday in the UAE.He was not alone. Photos of the pyrotechnics are splashed all over the Facebook pages of many UAE residents, as well as newspapers and news websites all over the world.

Amid the celebrations, a note of caution. Traffic was gridlocked on the section of Sheikh Zayed Road that leads to Burj Khalifa, forcing many to park their cars long distances from the base of the tower. Dubai Metro also experienced congestion and delays. It would have been a tragedy if the celebrations had been marred by an accident due to overcrowding.

From New York to Sydney, major events inevitably pose a challenge for organisers. But with Burj Khalifa set to become an end-of-year destination for residents and tourists alike, improved security, logistics and transport are paramount.