Dubai kicks off 2014 with dazzling world record bid

Fireworks explode from the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, in Dubai on Jan 1, 2014 to celebrate the new year. Dubai kicked off New Year with a dazzling bid for a new world record to cap those the Gulf city state already holds for its mammoth
Fireworks explode from the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, in Dubai on Jan 1, 2014 to celebrate the new year. Dubai kicked off New Year with a dazzling bid for a new world record to cap those the Gulf city state already holds for its mammoth property developments. -- PHOTO: AFP

DUBAI (AFP) - Dubai kicked off New Year with a dazzling bid for a new world record to cap those the Gulf city state already holds for its mammoth property developments.

The glittering fireworks display spanned over 100 kilometres of the Dubai coast, which boasts an archipelago of man-made islands and Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower.

Emitari officials were hoping the pyrotechnics would land them the Guinness World Record, beating nearby Kuwait which currently hold the mark, set in 2011, with an epic hour-long show of 77,282 fireworks.

The main displays were based at the luxurious Atlantis hotel and at Palm Jumeirah, one of three palm-shaped islands.

Dubai boasts the world's tallest tower, its largest man-made island and one of the world's busiest airports.

Over the past few years, Dubai has been vying to become a permanent fixture on the world map of New Year celebrations, staging spectacular shows since the opening of the 828-metre Burj Khalifa tower in 2010.

The glitzy Gulf city, which has already established itself as a global hub for air transport and transit trade, as well as a regional financial centre, beat off opposition from Brazil, Russia and Turkey in November to win the right to host the World Expo trade fair in 2020.

Dubai's economy was hit in 2009 by the global financial crisis, which saw its real estate sector shed half its value.

But it has since made a strong comeback.

With its reputation as a liberal city in a conservative region, the Gulf city is home to an expatriate population of more than 200 nationalities.