x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Clarification sought on New Year ruling

A statement is due to be issued today clarifying a decision by Sheikh Mohammed to cancel New Year celebrations in Dubai.

Workers assemble the stage on Dec 30 for Shakira's New Year's Eve concert in the Emirate's Palace hotel.
Workers assemble the stage on Dec 30 for Shakira's New Year's Eve concert in the Emirate's Palace hotel.

DUBAI // Officials were due to meet this morning to clarify the implications of a ruling by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, that all New Year's celebrations in Dubai are to be cancelled. Sheikh Mohammed made the decision last night to show the emirate's support for the people of Gaza. In a statement issued by the state news agency WAM last night, he told authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure the cancellation of all planned events and "all forms of celebrations marking the New Year".

But it is still unclear whether the ruling in Dubai will have an effect on New Year celebrations planned in the hotels and venues in Abu Dhabi. So far, hotels and restaurants in the capital have not been asked to alter any of their plans to provide public firework displays or live music. "We have heard that only outdoor events are being cancelled in Dubai," said Elias Saad, organiser of the New Year's Eve celebration to be held at Sax nightclub in Le Royal Meridien hotel. "I have no idea what we'll do if we're asked to cancel tonight; people have bought tickets and I've flown the singer here and it could turn into a panic. Hopefully, things will continue as planned." So far, other major events planned in the capital, which include Shakira's live concert and Emirates Palace hotel's planned La Rumba event, are still scheduled to be held. Hotels in Dubai, with New Year celebrations planned for this evening, are awaiting clarification of the ruling from the Department of Tourism and Commercial Marketing (DTCM). A statement explaining what is acceptable for hotels is expected to be issued by the DTCM later today. A staff member at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, in Dubai, said: "We are waiting for official news from DTCM. Yes, we have read the newspaper articles but we are not sure of the implications for us.

"Some people say there is no live music or fireworks, others say no celebrations at all. We are waiting for an official notice for the hotels about the announcement and then we will react accordingly." loatway@thenational.ae hkhalaf@thenational.ae