Dubai Global Vil­lage gives visi­tors free pass to world of cul­tures

The National - News - - NEWS EMIRATES - PA­TRICK RYAN

Thou­sands of visi­tors were given free ad­mis­sion to Dubai’s Global Vil­lage yes­ter­day ahead of the of­fi­cial open­ing to­day.

The pop­u­lar fes­ti­val park, now in its 23rd year, will stay open un­til April 6.

This year, visi­tors can ex­plore 27 new pavil­ions. In to­tal, 78 coun­tries in­clud­ing the UAE, Saudi Ara­bia, Ye­men, In­dia, China, Rus­sia, Kuwait and Ja­pan are rep­re­sented.

The pavil­ions rep­re­sent dif­fer­ent mon­u­ments and land­marks unique to coun­tries as well as of­fer­ing live en­ter­tain­ment, street food, hand­crafted goods and traders dressed in the au­then­tic cos­tumes of each na­tion.

Among the new at­trac­tions this year are eight bridges that repli­cate some of the world’s most fa­mous land­marks, an in­ter­ac­tive theatre for chil­dren, a mul­ti­cul­tural float­ing mar­ket and more than 100 in­ter­ac­tive video games and 30 rides for chil­dren and adults.

Some of the at­trac­tions were still re­ceiv­ing the fin­ish­ing touches ahead of to­day’s of­fi­cial open­ing but the de­ci­sion to waive the usual ad­mis­sion fee of Dh15 meant that peo­ple were not com­plain­ing.

“This is some­thing that you re­ally don’t get in other coun­tries,” said Drissi Khalil, 53, from France.

“The size and va­ri­ety of the pavil­ions is in­cred­i­ble and it is a great place for fam­i­lies to come to.”

Hannah Foy, 10, lives in Ire­land but this was her third visit to Global Vil­lage.

“I like the fact that you can learn about all the dif­fer­ent coun­tries and their cul­tures,” she said. “I def­i­nitely will be back.”

Engy Al­garf, 29, from Egypt has made many trips to Global Vil­lage al­ready. “It’s a re­ally nice place to hang out, espe­cially when it’s in full swing and there are more live en­ter­tain­ment shows,” she said.

It is a tes­ta­ment to the venue’s en­dur­ing pop­u­lar­ity that peo­ple make sev­eral trips in the course of a year.

“I usu­ally come to Global Vil­lage with my fam­ily ev­ery month as there are al­ways new shows and at­trac­tions to en­joy,” said Egyp­tian Hashem Abuhafa. “It is an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence that Dubai should be proud of.”

An­other Egyp­tian na­tional, Is­mael Mo­hamed, 30, was also taken back by what was on of­fer.

“Com­ing here is like vis­it­ing lots of dif­fer­ent coun­tries that a lot of peo­ple will never be able to visit for real,” Mr Mo­hamed said.

“That is what is great about it. You get to ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent cul­tures that you might not oth­er­wise.”

Taraq Jab­bar, 30, from Iraq, said that he planned to make more than one trip to Global Vil­lage this year.

“I might be back next week be­cause I want to see ev­ery­thing,” Mr Jab­bar said. “It’s re­ally cool but there is still so much not open yet that I want to see.”

Chi­nese vis­i­tor Dudy Zhou, 30, said Global Vil­lage was a high­light of her first trip to Dubai.

This year’s event will also in­clude the largest Emi­rati pavil­ion in the his­tory of Global Vil­lage, and the re­turn of the Wheel of the World – which has been re­designed to in­clude a 50-me­tre LED screen to show live footage from Dubai.

Com­ing here is like vis­it­ing lots of dif­fer­ent coun­tries that a lot of peo­ple will never be able to visit for real IS­MAEL MO­HAMED Egyp­tian tourist

Reem Mo­hammed / The Na­tional

Dubai Global Vil­lage opened to the pub­lic yes­ter­day for its 23rd sea­son with many new at­trac­tions

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