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Nation Home > Spotlight
Dubai decks up for Shopping Festival

Lily B. Libo-on / 3 January 2013

This time, the DSF will reverberate with its theme “Join us where it all started…” in the placid Dubai Creek, the historic hub from where the city rose to become today’s international centre of excellence.

This year’s edition, which will run till February 3, will relive Dubai’s humble beginnings as a cluster of pearling settlements on the shores of Dubai Creek or Khor Dubai. A glittering ceremony of colourful fireworks will highlight the city skies today over the Dubai Creek. Fireworks from Al Seef Street area to the Festival Promenade will bathe the city’s famous skyline in multi-coloured lights and sparkle. It will shimmer with the glow of fireworks, fantastic music and dance performances on its very waters. A variety of acrobats, jugglers, stilt walkers, clowns and other performers will perform to enthrall kids and families.

Khaleej TimesImbued with up to 75 per cent price cuts, rewards of up to 15kg of gold, luxurious cars and Dh100,000 cash daily, the world’s most popular 32-day entertainment and shopping extravaganza will definitely carve out more unforgettable memories and life-changing moments for its lucky shoppers and visitors this year.

Laila Suhail, CEO of the Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE), organisers of the DSF, told Khaleej Times that she expects DSF 2013 to be a resounding success, as once again the government and private sectors have together worked hard to ensure a rewarding experience for the millions of festival visitors: “The DEPE is grateful to the private sector for extending their whole-hearted cooperation  to  government driven-initiatives like the DSF that has helped play a pivotal role in helping Dubai maintain its position as one of the best shopping and tourism destinations in the world.”

To the DEPE, this mutual trust and collaboration between the government and private sectors has ushered Dubai to the fame of being crowned as the “World Festival and Event City” by the International Festival and Events Association (IFEA) for two consecutive years. Such cooperation has also generated excellent growth for the DSF since its inception in 1996.

Khaleej Times

Dubai Creek Park is decorated with flags for the opening ceremony of the DSF.  — KT Photo by Shihab

The DSF recorded a nine per cent increase over the previous edition and infused a windfall of  Dh14.7 billion during the 2012 festival period equivalent to US$1billion per week: “With an extensive line-up of activities, mega shopping-linked promotions and entertainment, we are confident that DSF 2013 will not only live up to its campaign promise of showcasing ‘Dubai at its Best’ but also generate high revenues that will, in turn, give an additional boost to the city’s retail sector,” Suhail said.

Four locations chosen along the historic banks of Dubai Creek will come alive on the inaugural day of the DSF. These locations - the Heritage and Diving Village, Al Seef Street, the Creek Park and the Festival Promenade at Dubai Festival City - will be transformed into centres of celebration and activities during the  occasion.

Rachna S., an Indian mother of three who lives close to Burjuman, says she is so excited to watch the inaugural day, which promises new things from  past editions: “We often come to Dubai Creek as we live nearby. We always wait for the opening of  DSF every year with excitement as my children love to see the fireworks, stilt walkers, clowns, and jugglers around. It is more fun to be witnessing new performances this year,” she said.

Sudanese Mohammed Ali, a resident of  Dubai for 20 years, said that in all DSF editions he and his family used to come to the Dubai Creek to watch the fireworks on the inaugural day and on weekends: “My kids love to ride the camel in the Bedouin area of Al Seef and shop for some interesting items.”

Khaleej TimesNew to DSF 2013

Floating decorated tableaus will sail down the creek delivering stunning aerial and acrobatic performances over the water with a unique projection screen made out of a fine jet spray of the creek’s water displaying the images and sights of the festival.

A wide range of new entertainment will ensue, with the Arabic musical “On the land of the Gypsies” produced by the renowned Rahbani Productions,  a unique Street Fashion show, the Biggest Sampling/Makeover, the Bedouin Lifestyle Camp, which features Bedouins from around the world, Dubai International Comedy Carnival, the Tea Oasis showcasing the best of the cup that cheers, and the World of Souvenirs, the place to go for mementos, collectibles and miniature versions of global landmarks. The Festival Promenade will feature the amusement park-style DSF Fun Fair. And to top it all, the Heritage and Diving Village will relive the glory of the past through cultural and folklore performances.

International artists will showcase their talents, including an Arab musical “A Ard El Ghajar” (On the Land of the Gypsies)  from the renowned Rahbani Productions; a concert by Slash, the legendary lead guitarist of former rock heavyweights Guns N’ Roses; the best comedy talents from the UAE, the region and from around the world at the Dubai International Comedy Carnival;  the Black Light Show staged by renowned Hungarian black light theatre company “Attraction”; as well as the DSF carnivals featuring hundreds of street performers from various nationalities to juggle, stilt walk, perform acrobatics, music, and much more.

Khaleej TimesShopping and the retail industry

Dubai has grown economically with the DSF.  Today, it boasts of  the largest collection of international retail brands under one roof, providing  one of the best, unique and diverse shopping experiences in the world:  “The DSF encourages Dubai’s retailers to present their best offerings, products and discounts to make the DSF a truly unforgettable experience for visitors from around the world,” the DEPE CEO said.

She said that the DSF truly brings out the best in Dubai’s retail sector, and this is evident by the participation of over 6,000 retail outlets and 70 shopping malls in Dubai during the  32-day extravaganza.

She added that other sectors also benefit during the festival, including the financial services such as the money exchange houses and transportation, rent-a-car companies, as well as the food and beverage sectors: “It is this fantastic fusion of synergies that has combined well to ensure the success of the DSF year after year.” 

DSF after 17 years

For  the DEPE, the DSF has made five major achievements since 1996. It has helped to put Dubai on the world map; revived and reinvigorated the retail sector and given a major boost to the tourism sector in Dubai; made Dubai an international city of excellence; offered an innovative and rewarding experience to visitors together with life-changing opportunities; and, infused confidence in investors and encouraged them to use the DSF as a platform for their future growth in the region.

The achievements of the DSF are also replicated in the life of the families, shoppers and visitors, who drive home the luxurious cars and enrich themselves with the hundred thousand dirhams more, embracing a once-in-a-lifetime life-changing moment.


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