DSF establishes Dubai as a destination of great value

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DSF establishes Dubai as a destination of great value

During the first fortnight alone, increased footfall and brisk business were reported from all the 70 participating malls that include more than 6,000 shops and stores.

By Sadiq Shaban

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Published: Wed 29 Jan 2014, 12:40 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:24 PM

Of all the major shopping carnivals in the world, Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) has attained an almost leviathan status. Besides being popular with residents and tourists alike, it has become a benchmark for the latest trends and attitudes in the world of fashion. Be it the sheer expanse of top global brands, range of shopping categories, quantity of upscale shops, boutique and vintage retailers or simply the bulging market stalls, Dubai has been successful in crocheting together one of the greatest retailing arrays in the world.

The ongoing 19th edition of DSF (Jan 2 to Feb 2) has already set cash registers ringing. During the first fortnight alone, increased footfall and brisk business were reported from all the 70 participating malls that include more than 6,000 shops and stores. The buzz was more palpable in mid-sized malls and community shopping centres across Dubai where promotional campaigns like “Shop And Win”, received tremendous response. Shoppers are entitled to enter daily raffles on purchase of Dh500 worth of gold jewellery. If the spend includes diamonds, pearls or watches, they receive two raffle coupons. In the 32-day shopping spree, three cars and a Dh100,000 cash prize are up for grabs every single day. At the end of the month, two raffle draws will give shoppers the chance to win Dh850,000 in cash. Expectedly the queues are getting only bigger.

With mega deals and freebies as its main draw, DSF has had a whopping impact on Dubai’s hospitality sector also. Last year, close to four million shoppers were part of the festival. The organiser Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) is expecting a jump of up to 10 per cent this time as tourism numbers are on the upswing. Official figures show that this month, hotels in the city have recorded high occupancy levels while airlines are making hay. Passengers travelling with Emirates stand to benefit from a generous baggage allowance of 30kg in Economy Class, 40kg in Business Class and 50kg in First Class during the DSF. “Dubai could not have had a better platform to start DSF after hosting the world’s biggest fireworks display. This, coupled with Dubai’s new-found status as the Expo host city for 2020, meant DSF 2014 was always going to be particularly special,” Shaikh Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice-President, Commercial Operations, Emirates Airline, said in a statement.

With holidaymakers from Saudi Arabia and the wider GCC region making a beeline for the DSF, there has been an increase in tourist numbers coming from Europe and Asia. With so many promotions on offers, it is not uncommon to see Chinese and Russian tourists hop-scotching and window shopping along with Indian, South Korean and British shoppers in one of Dubai’s upscale malls. “You will meet the most cosmopolitan blend of shoppers in Dubai during the DSF. We see our sales double during the month and we expect that trend to continue,” Mohsin Ahmed, a retail executive at Jacky’s Electronics told Khaleej Times.

However there is more to the festival than the mega raffles, promotions, discounts, exciting hotel offers and stage performances. Dubai has pulled all stops to ensure that getting around the city is effortless. Right from the quality of public transportation, affordability and availability of taxis to the commuting time, care is taken to ensure that the festival goes without any logistical hiccups. The DFRE leaves no stone upturned to ensure that not only does the festival showcase Dubai’s pre-eminence as a modern shopping destination but also reflects the local Emirati flavour.

“Dubai has a beautiful blend of both worlds. While my husband loved to shop in the Mall of the Emirates, I found the Heritage village really unique. My family, who are visiting from Russia, are excited to see so many aspects of Emirati life. I bought souvenirs and gifts like lanterns, bags, an Emirati scarf and oudh from stalls here. Where else would you get to see such diversity?” quipped Rosa Kozel, a Moscow-based fashionista.

The festival provides a platform to everyone from top entertainers like Nancy Ajram to Emirati local bands and carnival troupes performing for the shoppers. DSF packs it all, transforming Dubai to a big celebration bursting with shops of a dizzying array. There is everything for the shopaholic: From Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace in the high-end malls to knick-knack lined pedestrian streets full of cozy boutiques and showrooms that make for a great shopping experience.

Pertinently the authorities and inhabitants of Dubai are stakeholders in the evolution of this city, renowned for its great symphony: Liberal values, tolerance, cleanliness, quality of window displays, shop décor, friendliness, competence of service staff, dining and accommodation options. DSF merely accentuates this lifestyle. Somewhere between these attributes lies the answer to what makes Dubai tick.


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