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VIRTUALLY THERE:New Year’s Eve around the world

From fireworks and a light and laser show on the world’s tallest building in Dubai to blowing up a sign in Las Vegas and the traditional Times Square ball drop at midnight in New York, there are plenty of options for frustrated revellers to hit the road – virtually, of course – to close out 2020 with a twist.

With the pandemic still raging, several international destinations are vowing not to let this year’s calendar-flip get lost in the shuffle; here are a few entertaining options – some starting early in the day in North America – to emphatically kiss off 2020 and at the same time embrace the arrival of a hopeful new year from home.


Organizers of the famed New Year’s Eve Ball Drop Celebration are bringing the world’s biggest party into people’s homes, live from Times Square. The first-of-its-kind virtual New Year’s Eve can be experienced online directly or through downloaded apps. The show starts at 6 p.m. EST and the ball drops, of course, at midnight.

The event will be joined by mayors from around the world, including Canada, bringing messages of hope and optimism for 2021. Organizers are also inviting families to post video messages on Instagram describing their hopes for the new year.

“New York has always been a global city and Times Square New Year’s Eve a global celebration, so we are pleased to… virtually celebrate together and to say goodbye – finally! – to 2020,” says Times Square Alliance president Tim Tompkins.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio adds, “We’re keeping our city safe by forgoing large gatherings, and I know this dynamic virtual programming will still make this New Year’s Eve a night to remember.”

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New Year’s Eve Dubai


Dubai is promising a “show for the ages,” including fireworks and a light and laser show on the world’s tallest building, to ring in a hopeful New Year after a terrible 2020.

And while onlookers in the emirate will be subject to stringent pandemic protocols in line with government guidelines and directives, international audience can tune in without the fuss on a livestream broadcast at 8:30 p.m. local time (11:30 a.m. EST) on Dec. 31.

In light of the unprecedented pandemic, organizers intend to send “a message of hope, happiness and positivity into the world.” Focussed on the Burj Khalifa, the show will be synchronised to The Dubai Fountain Show and promises “to reflect a true celebration of Dubai.”

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Meanwhile, a little bit closer to home, Las Vegas – a city made for New Year’s Eve, even during a pandemic – is inviting virtual revellers to “kiss off 2020” and “experience what Las Vegas is known for – a blast” with celebrations being streamed live on its website www.
and/or Facebook and YouTube channels on New Year’s Eve.

The livestream countdown to midnight will feature a live DJ and other “epic sights,” including literally blowing 2020 away with the spectacular destruction of a 2020 sign.

A DJ will then begin the new year with a celebration of music when a massive LED lit 2021 sign is revealed along with an eruption of confetti, streamers, and firework in a 12-15-minute colourful pyrotechnic spectacular.

“We know that celebrating New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas is a bucket list item and a long-held tradition,” says Steve Hill, president/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Although many visitors from around the country and the world will not be able to join us in person to turn the calendar, this virtual event will allow us to share our enthusiasm and excitement with Vegas fans near and far as we look toward a brighter 2021.”


For the first time, the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s signature “Hong Kong New Year Countdown Celebrations” will be ushered in online on New Year’s Eve with viewers invited to count down to the new year in the comfort of their home using their smartphones or computers.

On Dec. 31, the website ( and social media platforms (Facebook and YouTube) will begin showing a live countdown clock at 11 p.m. (10 a.m. EST/7 a.m. PST) and 11:30 p.m. (10.30 a.m. EST/ 7.30 a.m. PST), respectively. Once the clock strikes midnight, a two-minute video featuring views of Victoria Harbour and landmarks of Hong Kong will follow, along with festive greetings sending blessings to the world.

Hong Kong

First published at Travel Industry Today

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