x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

For Burj refunds, go to Dubai

As tourists continue to be turned away from the Burj Khalifa many wonder when authorities will explain why the tower's observation deck is closed, and when it might reopen.

DUBAI // Tourists continued to be turned away from the Burj Khalifa yesterday. Many wondered when authorities would explain why the tower's observation deck was closed, and when it might reopen. Disappointed tourists who had booked online were told yesterday they could receive a refund only in person. Saleem Adam, 36, a lawyer based in Abu Dhabi, had booked tickets for himself and friends visiting from Canada.

"I called the helpline and was advised that they do not know when the tower would reopen," Mr Adam said. "I asked whether it would be before Friday and they said they didn't know." So he asked for a refund. "I was advised that I'd have to come to the counter in Dubai to get a refund," he recounted. "I explained that I lived in Abu Dhabi and that the money was collected online from my credit card, so it should not be onerous to refund the money back now. I was told several times that to get a refund I'd have to appear in person."

Some visitors were told by staff at the 828-metre attraction that it would reopen next Sunday and that visitors had the option to rebook their visits or be issued "an immediate refund". The Burj Khalifa's operator, Emaar, did not confirm that the tower would open next Sunday, nor did it shed more light on the reasons for the sudden closure. On Sunday the viewing area on the 124th floor of the world's tallest tower was shut to the public until further notice, little more than a month after it opened, due to problems with the power supply, according to a statement.

Will Soons, 79, from Holland, wondered if he will have another chance, at his age, to get inside the tower. "It was the main thing we wanted to do here," he said. He has now booked a night's stay at the Burj al Arab instead. eharnan@thenational.ae