• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

Dubai thrills Nigerian shoppers beyond discounts at the malls

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While in Port Harcourt where he works, Emeka Fidelis, one of the winners of the all-expense paid trip to the 2016 Dubai Shopping Festival, courtesy of Dubai Tourism, was doubtful of the ability of the organisers to fly the 200 lucky Nigerians to the festival this January.

But on sighting him at the Global Village in Dubai during the shopping festival, Emeka did not hide his surprise at the reality that dawn on him in Dubai. Accompanied by Wilson, his brother, Emeka’s amazement started from the comfort aboard Emirate Airlines, the expansive Dubai Airport and the wonderful and modern city Dubai has become.

Besides Emeka, other Nigerian shoppers on the trip (most of whom were first timers in Dubai) were also amazed at the beautiful city at the centre of the desert. However, in the midst of the amazement, they had to do their primary assignment; joining other shoppers from across the world to take advantage of the shopping festival’s highly discounted prices at designated malls and shopping outlets in Dubai from January 1 to February 1, 2016.

While shopping with others at the Global Village in Dubai, Emeka who won at the raffle draw held at Liquid Lounge in Port Harcourt, said he had spent N100,000 in buying cloths, especially wedding gown, shoes, electronic among others, while his brother spent N30,000. “With free air ticket and free accommodation, I decided to spend my air fare on shopping here. I have spent just N100,000, I hope to spend another N100,000 at Emirate Mall in buying other things I need back home”, the Imo State born car hire operator said.

As well, Hassan Ozigi, a lawyer and another Nigerian shopper on the sponsored trip, was impressed with the level of advancement in the city, especially on infrastructure. For him, the city dotted with so many beautiful structures is beyond the shopping experience. The lawyer who won at the Lagos raffle draw of the festival campaign came with Rahanatu, his sister and both have spent over N200,000 shopping from the Emirate Malls, Dubai Malls, Gold Suuk, Global Village among other designated malls.

Considering the cost benefit analysis of the all expense paid trip for 200 people before the trip in Lagos, Ozigi did not see value for Dubai Tourism until he arrived in Dubai and joined others in the shopping experience. “Dubai Tourism people are futuristic. This is like a bait, and nobody will visit on this free trip without planning a return visit on his own. I am coming here later this year on my own and so also many others”, the lawyer said.   

For Rekia Abdulmalik, another winner and a banker who came with Saratu, her sister on the trip, the shopping festival has opened her eyes on where and how to spend her holiday this summer. The prices of the goods at the shops, according to her, are quite discounted and quality as well. “I see an assemblage of the products of major global brands at the shopping malls, especially Dubai Mall as truly discounted rates, I feel happy shopping and enjoy the company of other nationals who just do same thing-shopping”, she said.

But her only constrain is the earlier banking restrictions that made oversea trip almost difficult, especially BTA and withdrawal limits. Yet, she was able to get reasonable dollars in Nigeria before the trip. She and her sister plan to spend at least N180,000 for the shopping spree, and also plan ahead for return visit to Dubai sometime this year.

Chigoziri Charles, another winner from Port Harcourt, who came on the trip with Charles Amadi, her husband, converted the trip to both shopping and romantic outing. Her excitement started the day she was nominated for the trip after successfully answering couple of questions on Rhythm FM Port. Now in Dubai with other winners, and her hubby, she is delighted at buying things for her children, extended family and friends. At the time of meeting her at the Global Village in Dubai, she had already spent N80,000and hoping to spend almost same amount before retuning while her husband spent about UAE Dirhams 450 on men wears, perfume and other fashion accessories.

The experience goes on from one shopper to all the 200 Nigerian shoppers on the trip, and who have already started making plans for return visits besides referrals to friends and relations back home.

Speaking on the rationale behind the sponsorship and what Dubai Tourism has gained so far, Stella Obinwa, regional director, Africa, International Operations, Dubai Cooperation for Tourism & Commerce Marketing, Dubai Tourism, repeated that Dubai Tourism is not looking at the immediate gains from the all-expense paid trip.

“We at Dubai Tourism are looking at the future and not the immediate gains from the 200 Nigerians that are here in Dubai on the trip. Haven tasted Dubai, we hope the 200 Nigerian shoppers will come back on their own. A taste is just what you need to be convinced and we are sure they are convinced already with the experiential outing here”, the regional director, Africa said.

Obinna Emelike