World's tallest tower in UAE closes

"Unexpected high traffic" causes indefinite closure, Dubai's Burj Khalifa owner says.

    Tourists affected by the closure are being offered the chance to rebook or receive refunds [AFP]
     

    The Gulf emirate had hoped the 828m high Burj Khalifa would be a major stimulant to boost its tourism economy.
     
    In recent weeks, thousands of tourists have lined up to buy tickets for viewing times often days in advance that cost more than $27 each - or $110 for a queue-jump pass.

    But the closure will now prevent those tourists gaining entry to the observation deck and casts doubt over plans to welcome its first permanent occupants in the coming weeks.

    Ticket sales

    Agents were accepting bookings for next week, though there has been no confirmation the tower will reopen then.

    The Burj Khalifa in numbers
    Burj dubai comparison
    Click image to enlarge

    828m - height
    57 - number of lifts
    169 - number of floors
    1,044 - number of apartments
    31,400 - tonnes of steel used
    330,000  - cubic metres of concrete used
    $1.5bn - estimated cost
    95 km - the distance it can be seen from
    10C - cooler at the top than the bottom
    158 - floor where "highest" mosque is planned
    76 - floor of "highest" swimming pool
    12,000 - number of labourers who toiled
    $5 - daily wage of a labourer

    Tourists affected by the closure are being offered the chance to rebook or receive refunds.

    The shutdown comes at a sensitive time for Dubai, facing a slump in tourism - which accounts for nearly a fifth of the local economy - while fending off negative publicity caused by more than $80 billion in debt it is struggling to repay.

    "It was the one thing I really wanted to see," one Slovenian tourist said.

    "The tower was projected as a metaphor for Dubai. So the metaphor should work. There are no excuses."

    Dubai officially opened the skyscraper on January 4 in a blaze of fireworks televised around the world.

    The building had been known as the Burj Dubai during its construction, but the name was suddenly changed on opening night to honour the ruler of neighboring Abu Dhabi.

    Work is still ongoing on many of the building's floors, including those that will house the first hotel designed by Giorgio Armani that is due to open in March.

    The first of around 12,000 residential tenants and office workers are supposed to move in this month.

    The observation deck, which is mostly enclosed but includes an outdoor terrace bordered by guard rails, is about two-thirds of the way up on the 124th floor.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Gender violence in India: 'Daughters are not a burden'

    Gender violence in India: 'Daughters are not a burden'

    With female foeticide still widespread, one woman tells her story of being mutilated for giving birth to her daughters.

    The Muslims of South Korea

    The Muslims of South Korea

    The number of Muslims in South Korea is estimated to be around 100,000, including foreigners.

    Aamir Khan: The Snake Charmer

    Aamir Khan: The Snake Charmer

    Can Aamir Khan create lasting change in Indian society or is he just another Bollywood star playing the role of a hero?