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Shop while savouring special moments at DSF 2014

Sandhya D’ Mello / 2 January 2014

‘The festival’s sole aim is 
to boost the retail sector 
on a global scale’

Preparations in progress at Al Seef street a day before the festival. — KT Photo by Shihab

Close on the heels of its fireworks records to usher in the New Year, Dubai is geared up to woo global shoppers for another bumper event — the 19th edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival — which opens today.

As the emirate rejoices in positive business sentiment, the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, or DFRE, an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, is ready to make the festival a global retail success story.

“In the last few years we have witnessed the number of visitors to the Dubai Shopping Festival averaging around four million and we are anticipating an increase of between five to 10 per cent during the 19th edition of the DSF from January 2 to February 2. Since it was launched in 1996, the Dubai Shopping Festival has attracted approximately 51 million participants, residents and visitors, who have spent just under Dh130 billion, whether it was for shopping, hospitality or on entertainment,” Laila Mohammed Suhail, chief executive officer of DFRE, told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview.

Suhail, said: “DFRE has adopted a number of strategies to promote DSF 2014 to attract visitors from our regional and international markets, and also ensure that when they leave Dubai they feel enriched and are able to take home great memories. One of our key strategies is to put the spotlight back on the shopping element of the DSF and for this we have adopted a new theme, ‘Shop at your Best’ aimed at showcasing Dubai as a tourism destination that offers multiple and unique shopping experiences. We want shoppers to know that while Dubai boasts the largest collection of international retail brands under one roof and has unbeatable bargains offered by over 6,000 retailers, they also can savour special moments while they shop through our line-up of over 150 attractions covering a wide landscape of events and activities in entertainment, culture, fashion, lifestyle, sports, and much more.”

Working under the umbrella of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, or DTCM, DFRE is able to reach out to reach to a wider audience and new markets across the world, as part of its    efforts to increase the number of tourists during DSF 2014.

The festivals and retail body also launched a global marketing campaign that relies heavily on digital communication channels including a new look website — www.mydsf.ae —  that uses geo-marketing technology for the first time to create awareness of, and promote the 32-day DSF 2014 to families and tourists across the world, especially in the strategic markets of GCC, especially Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, China, Hong Kong and South Africa. DFRE has also forged marketing alliances with Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel site and the online editions of the internationally renowned Vogue magazine to extend the reach and visibility of DSF 2014 in key markets like India, Russia and China.

The shopping festival’s sole aim is to boost the retail sector on a global scale, explained Suhail: “Since it was launched in 1996, DSF has supported the growth of Dubai’s retail sector. DFRE’s mandate has also grown from merely organising festivals to setting clear directions and policies for the continued growth of the retail sector, paving the way for enhanced cooperation with the trade on ways of boosting Dubai’s retail sector. Significantly, over the past 18 years, DFRE has established a strong and longstanding partnership with the private sector, and regularly discusses issues, challenges and strategies with its key partners and sponsors aimed at further enhancing  the retail sector.”

DFRE is taking advantage of the positive economic environment that prevails in Dubai to chart its future plans. “Hoteliers, retailers and entertainment providers have seen visitor numbers and sales rise in 2013 and we are confident of a great year ahead of us with more events, attractions and value for money than ever before for visitors and local residents. 2014 will be a crucial and challenging period for DFRE as we plan for all our other festivals and events such as Dubai Summer Surprises, Ramadan in Dubai, Eid in Dubai, Dubai Motor Festival and Modhesh World leading all the way to the milestone 20th edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival in 2015,” concluded Suhail.


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