• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Dubai; still shoppers’ heaven two decades on

Dubai Shopping Festival

While the interest of people tends to wane after some years, Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) has sustained shoppers for 21 years with innovations and style, writes OBINNA EMELIKE who visited during the 2016 DFS.

You may choose to call it wonder city, magic city, or what have you, Dubai appeals to many people (indigenes and foreigners alike) in different ways.

But one common thing about the city is its fame for world’s best, tallest, biggest and other unimaginable things that are real today.

One of such feats is the hosting of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF); the world’s longest running and biggest shopping festival. Launched in 1996 and running consequently for the 21 years now, the festival hosts global shoppers in a 32-day shopping spree amidst entertainment.

This year’s DFS is the 21st edition and holds on the theme: “Unwrap The Exceptional”. In line with the theme, it offers unique shopping experiences to global shoppers in attendance through several events and activities held across the city.

However, with the best discounts ever, the festival has attracted over 56 million visitors to the emirate in the last two decades who have spent over Dh145 billion (about $48 billion) shopping in the over 70 malls and 6,000 retail outlets participating in the festival that also offer discounts of up to 75 percent on everything ranging from cars, haute couture fashion brands, electronics, gold, among others.

Beyond the discounts, the festival has overtime become a draw for global shoppers because of its fantastic prize offerings ranging from cars, mobiles phones, gold to cash.  Today, the festival is now a lifestyle thing for its patrons creating positive impacts on residents and visitors and also reaffirming Dubai’s commitment at becoming melting pot for retail, entertainment and leisure offerings.

Of course, each successful edition of DSF gratifies His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who initiated the festival based on his vision to transform Dubai into a modern city, and a major trading and shopping hub of the gulf region, but now the globe.

The festival is unique in the sense that despite crashing their prices for a full month, the participating shops and malls still smile to the bank.  Yet, the shop and mall owner record not less than 20 percent increase each year. Comparing festival and similar ones across the world, Simon Greener, a British shopper, noted that it is innovative retail ideas that make DSF flourish more than any of its like across the world.

“Imagine buying at half price, getting additional prizes promoted by some outlets for buying their items, and also government agencies making sure your pre-visit process are easy.  These benefits are real and enough to woo anybody to visit Dubai during the festival”, Greener said.

In line with Greener, Emeka Fidelis, one of the 200 Nigerians sponsored on an all-expense paid trip to the 2016 Dubai Shopping Festival, courtesy of Dubai Tourism, said the discounts are unbelievable. “Everybody from the government, shop owners and the people are doing everything to make you visit Dubai again. It is a great experience for me”, he said.

But beyond the discounts and prizes, the many offerings, the massive yet stylish malls and many exciting attractions built into the shopping experience are enough draws for shoppers.

Also, looking at the over 56 million visitors it has attracted so far, the over 70 malls and 6,000 retail outlets participating, one will appreciate the festivals humble beginning with a few malls in 1996. Thanks to the visionary eyes of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

OBINNA EMELIKE