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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

New year brings new opportunities for the UAE

Year of Zayed marks a special year ahead for 2018

The two telecoms companies are paying tribute to the UAE's Founding Father on Sheikh Zayed Humanitarian Work Day. Courtesy Al Ittihad
The two telecoms companies are paying tribute to the UAE's Founding Father on Sheikh Zayed Humanitarian Work Day. Courtesy Al Ittihad

As 2017 draws to a close and the dawn of a new year breaks, 2018 has much in store with a barrel load of exciting events and new openings across the country.

It will be a particularly special year for the UAE, as 2018 marks the Year of Zayed, and a hundred years since the birth of the nation’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan.

The year will focus on tolerance and co-existence, both vitally important aspects of national identity with a series of themed events, awards and initiatives throughout 2018 to promote those ideals.

More familiar traditions will kick off in January with the month-long Dubai Shopping Festival, that whips shoppers into a retail frenzy as bargains and special offers flood stores.

Economists will pay particular attention this year, to see how shopping trends are impacted by the 5 per cent Value Added Tax introduced on many goods and services from January 1.

The fourth day of the New Year marks another important national milestone, the anniversary of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s accession.

All eyes will be on the latest developments in green energy from January 13 and the start of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week hosted by Masdar.

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The 2018 winner of the annual Zayed Future Energy Prize will also hold extra significance as the award is marking its tenth anniversary.

Sport is never far from the calendar as the nation’s most popular events begin again and the world’s best golfers land in the UAE to compete for the HSBC Abu Dhabi World Golf Championships from January 18.

The next stage of the now famous ‘Arab swing’ is the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, where Masters champion Sergio Garcia will be looking to retain his title from January 25.

February is UAE Innovation Month with hundreds of national events planned to encourage government and private sectors to unite in new ideas for a sustainable future.

Poland is guest of honour at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair from April 25, and Sheikh Zayed’s 100th birthday celebrations are planned for May 6.

The UK will be celebrating a very special royal occasion on May 19, with Prince Harry due to marry American actress Meghan Markle in what promises to be one of the highlights of the month.

In June, attention turns to Russia where the football World Cup is being played, whilst My City Centre mall is to open in Masdar City by the end of the year.

Another major sporting event celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2018 is the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where motor sport fans will be hoping for a more exciting finish to the season than 2017 where Lewis Hamilton cruised to his fourth Formula One title.