Thousands of UAE residents ring in New Year in style

Partygoers across the Emirates flocked to parks, beaches and iconic hotspots to bid adieu to 2019

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Thousands of revellers across the UAE welcomed the New Year in style on Tuesday, enjoying spectacular firework displays at the stroke of midnight.

Families and friends gathered together to say a last farewell to 2019 and embrace the start of a new decade.

In Dubai, below Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, partygoers looked up in wonder as a huge pyrotechnic display lit up the night sky.

Tourists and residents alike were left in awe as rockets blazed heavenwards, bursting into a gamut of colour and noise.

“It was an unforgettable display,” said Alan Crystal, 39, a South African who has lived in the UAE for five years.

“The sky was awash with explosions and the atmosphere was buzzing. It was packed but everyone around us was loving it.”

Luisa Coelho, 31, from Portugal said: "The array of colour and the amount of rockets was breathtaking. It seemed to go on for ever."

The UAE’s 2020 celebrations were every bit as dramatic in the other six emirates.

In Abu Dhabi, onlookers on the Corniche enjoyed another elaborate firework display, coming just weeks after similar celebrations for National Day.

And in Ras Al Khaimah, officials hoped to break two Guinness World Records: the first by using 190 drones to launch their display, and the second being the longest ever "firework firewall", stretching an impressive four kilometres.

But while it was all about the party atmosphere for many, others opted for a more relaxed approach on New Year's Eve.

"No fireworks for me this year," Trish Fin, 59, a veterinary nurse from Dubai, told The National.

"I moved here in 1999 and I've been there, done that – but I'm still partying with friends at a brunch, of course.

“All in all, the night will cost me about Dh300, not bad considering the city we live in and the time of year.”

Sherrie Stewart, 28, from the UK, spent her evening with friends at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club.

"We wanted to avoid the crowds but still have great seats," she said. "We decided to watch the fireworks over Dubai's iconic skyline from the Creek."

Earlier on Tuesday, the UAE's leaders wished the country and the world and happy and prosperous new year.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said: "I wish well-being to my country and the Arab world with each passing year. May mankind move forward towards a brighter, better and greater future."

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, used Twitter to express his hopes for 2020.

“We hope that 2020 will be a year of peace, stability, optimism and goodness for humanity,” he wrote.

“With God's will, we will keep fulfilling our civilised mission of promoting well-being, co-existence and tolerance.”

As the countdown to midnight drew closer on Tuesday, throngs of tourists headed towards Downtown Dubai and Burj Khalifa.

Cheering crowds from the world over came dressed in everything from superhero costumes to formal dinner jackets and ball gowns.

By 8pm the party atmosphere appeared to be in full swing. Music blared from rooftops in Al Bateen in Abu Dhabi while hotel bands belted out old favourites in Fujairah.

Meanwhile, on the Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, revellers gathered to watch another spectacular 10-minute firework display, with partygoers determined to celebrate long into the night to make the most of the national public holiday on New Year's Day.

“New Year’s in the UAE is always very special,” said one. “It’s a chance to reflect but also to really soak up an evening full of atmosphere and noise. Everyone’s out to party.”