The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry predicts that tourists to Dubai will spend around Dh28 billion ($7.6 billion) by 2009.
A considerable wedge of this will surely come from spending at this year’s annual Dubai Shopping Festival which kicks off on 24 January.
The figures for the combined DSF 2006 and 2007 held last year amounted to Dhs10.2 billion in consumer spending. The budget for 2006-2007 was Dhs 90million ($24.5 million). During its 45 days duration Dubai welcomed 3.5 million visitors, according to his Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the department of civil aviation, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline and Group, and chairman of DSF Supreme Committee.
This year’s 13th shopping festival which runs until 24 February runs on the theme of the Fifth Season, which symbolises DSF as “a season of its own, a stand-out period of excitement characterised by shopping, winning and family entertainment”, according to organisers.
Emirates Airline is offering hotel packages starting from $75 per person per night during this period. The packages apply on a twin sharing basis and provide customers with a choice of accommodation from 18 properties. The offer is for a minimum of three nights with an option to extend. The price includes breakfast, chauffeur driven transfers between Dubai International Airport, and customers receive a 10 per cent discount on hotel room tariff for buying packages online.
An extra 10 kg free baggage allowance on return or onward flights from Dubai will be granted, plus stop-over charges will be waived.
The Renaissance Dubai Hotel has a shopping package that includes transport to any shopping mall in Dubai, and The Palace, The Old Town, will offer guests “value-added packages” throughout the DSF. The Sofitel City Centre hotel will continue to offer its discount card for the City Centre shopping mall.
Some hotels such as the Novotel and Ibis World Trade Centre are already full.
The Dubai Summer Surprises held later in the year is another of the government’s promotional campaigns expected to attract huge numbers of tourists.
The DCCI’s main aim regarding its drive to encourage tourist spending is to promote Dubai’s retail sector and open up new business opportunities, which will impact positively on the national economy.
Sheikh Ahmed said, “The overwhelming success and the achievements accomplished by DSF over the years have made it possible to set the ground for a vibrant entertainment industry in the region. It has set new standards for family entertainment along with a diversified spectrum of events that have combined to become a catalyst in the growth witnessed by the economy, and especially by the tourism sector.
The popularity of DSF can be gauged in that it has been the role model for burgeoning regional entertainment ventures to emulate, apart from attracting multi-billion dollar entertainment based projects into UAE.”
“A massive pool of local organising talent formed from experiences over the years and the advanced status of the entertainment industry in UAE are going to play a crucial role in attracting tourists and visitors into the country.”
The DSF focuses on key three elements – shopping, winning and family entertainment. The events are classified into signature events, weekend packages, Global Village events, and numerous other attractions. Signature events consist of the opening ceremony, Dubai fashion, a food festival, Dubai carnivals, world records, fireworks festivals, music festivals and the closing ceremony.
Global Village events include the House of Talents, a platform for gifted women to showcase their talents and skills; and Bazaars of the World that features the best from souqs around the world.
An addition to DSF 2008 is a shopping extravaganza called Shopping Events. In line with the Fifth Season theme, various shopping related events and promotions will be organised. Additionally, Al Seef Street, a favoured DSF destination among visitors, will provide a combination of shopping and entertainment.