The apology statement, which was released by the hotel at around 7pm on New Year’s Day, came after hundreds of disappointed revellers vented their rage on Facebook, with more than 500 comments on the festival’s official page.
But it did little to calm many of the angered punters, many of whom are demanding refunds after failing to reach the event, or spending more than four hours queuing and on buses.
The statement promised ‘a resolution for the guests that were impacted within the next 48 hours’. A spokesperson for the hotel earlier stated that some would be offered refunds.
Guests have continued to express their anger online, with more than 380 people joining a group entitled 'Scamdance Dubai NYE’.
A second group, simply entitled ‘Sue Sandance’ and baring the description ‘For all those who were left stranded, cheated, endangered during NYE by Sandance! We demand moral and financial compensation’, has attracted a further 140 likes.
Atlantis’ full statement statement read: ‘The safety and satisfaction of our guests is our main priority and as such we worked under the guidance of our partners and the local authorities to provide an incredible New Year’s Eve experience as Dubai tried to break the world record for the largest firework display in 2013.
‘We are extremely sorry that after months of preparations with the local authorities that some of our guests were not able to reach Sandance or experienced significant traffic delays. Our loyal fans of Sandance know that each festival we aim to blow away our guests with an incredible experience and great line up. We regret that many guests did not experience Sandance as it was planned and will provide a resolution for the guests that were impacted within the next 48 hours.’
A lively debate has broken out online, with more than 400 Facebook comments made on the statement within 12 hours of being published.
Laura Mccabe commented: ‘24 hours and this is the best you come up.’
David Jantsky commented: ‘Some of our guests were not able to reach..." you mean thousands of fans?’
Tracey Pierdica commented: ‘Sandance, your apology is weak and insincere, whilst you are busy with your number crunching to calculate the loss of profit if you refund tickets, perhaps you should consider reputational risk. This is disappointment and anger on a large scale not just "some" disappointed ticket holders.’
Manly claim they were not able to reach the festival at all, while others report how hundreds of frustrated partygoers left the busses to walk under the Palm’s tunnel to the event.
Ingrid Bergman commented: ‘Yes, some does not cover anything! Stuck in a bus over four hours, no toilet, no Sandance security. On the way there was a lot of disturbance in the bus, because the bus driver open-end the doors for freeloaders!!! We paid 1,200 Dirhams for a ticket, spending on a BUS!!!! You as an organization should be a shamed!’
Heba Attallah commented: ‘Been in Dubai for the past 27 years and never got so humiliated like I did last night! But Thank you for the apology and waiting to know how we can get our money back.’
Ka Tee commented: ‘What a lousy apology lol. "We're sorry that some of our guests were not able to reach Sandance".......Look at all the people that are just commenting on your Facebook page. I think it's safe to say that it was not just "some guests" that didn't make it.’
Michael Stojkovic commented: ‘Refunding my 15k isn't enough to compensate what I had to go through last night - for once in my life I felt like I was in a third world country, and that my wellbeing was in danger. Not to mention that of my clients and friends that I took out. I'm completely embarrassed and devastated; what a way to spend my first NYE in Dubai. I'm sure you can understand why I'm never going to trust Sandance, Atlantis, Toyota UAE, or any of your partners or event agencies ever again.’
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Mohamed Al Sadi Jan 03, 2014 09:32 am
i bought 8 tickets for me & my friends we reached AUD at 8 o'clock then we ride the bus at 11:30 and we stayed in the bus till 1 o'clock we lost the fire works show & the concert as we complete by walking to Atlantis because of the traffic and the police already closed all the way and we celebrate in the street, as i see you have to do something to correct your mistake also i will visit the nearest virgin mega store today to see what the solve for this thing (if there is no action from your side tell me to who i have to go) ??????????????
abdul rahman Jan 02, 2014 01:13 pm
what they are tlking about 4 hours. people were stuck in trafiic for 6 hours from burj al arab to pal jumeiraah. thousand of people parked their car next to media city and walked all over towards the palm. this is how you people organuize an event???