Dubai Shopping Festival not hit by drop in tourists – authorities

The month-long event had over 6,000 participating retail outlets



The month-long Dubai Shopping Festival was not hit by the recent drop in tourists to the emirate, an official confirmed.

DSF – held from January 1 to February 1, hosted more than 150 events and activities and held a range of discounts, promotions and raffle draws across the emirate this year.

The festival, which has enjoyed an average footfall of 4.5 million visitors each year, expects to maintain the numbers this edition as well.

“What is impressive about Dubai Shopping Festival is its continuity and consistency,” chief executive officer of organiser Dubai Festival and Retail Establishment Laila Mohammed Suhail told Gulf Business.

“Even during the years of global economic downturn, the festival was held against all odds while many other festivals in the region and the world were either put on hold or cancelled.”

The festival has generated annual sales of around Dhs 15bn in recent years and Dhs 145bn in total over the past two decades.

Authorities say Dubai retailers record 25 to 30 per cent of their annual sales during DSF. This year the event saw over 6,000 participating retail outlets.

In a bid to attract more visitors, DFRE also partnered with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank to launch a new Dubai Festival app this year. The smartphone application keeps shoppers up to date with the latest deals available across the emirate.

Retailing outlets at the Dubai Duty Free also partnered with DFRE to offer shoppers discounts on online purchases throughout the festival.

“Our focus has been to keep pace with all technological tools that will help connect DSF with its diverse audiences in Dubai and around the world. We are extensively using social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to encourage DSF visitors interaction and participation,” explained Suhail.

Looking ahead DFRE aims to support Dubai in its vision of attracting 20 million visitors to the emirate by 2020.

Suhail said: “We are in a position to plan even stronger international outreach. We are working closely with Dubai Tourism to encourage more visitors from markets like Nigeria – we have found in recent years that Africa is becoming a steadily growing market.

“The expansion in Emirates’ network will also help us reach new and untapped markets for festival visitors,” she added.

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