Summer party marks decade of DSS

DSS mascot Modhesh gets the party started

Fittingly for a tenth anniversary, there’s a surprise in store for visitors to the annual Dubai Summer Surprises, say organisers of the region’s hottest draw.

This year’s edition runs from June 21 to August 31.
A change in format that has thrown up more choice for the visitor will be instrumental in further consolidating Dubai’s position as a leading summer destination, according to Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the Department of Civil Defence; chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline and Group; and chairman of the DSF and DSS Supreme Committee. “This time around, DSS Surprises will be simultaneously launched at the beginning of the ten-week event and will continue for the whole 72 days. This change would give tourists and visitors who pass through Dubai during transit at any given time the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of family entertainment activities being held in shopping malls and other venues dedicated to DSS,” he said. “The new ambitious strategy for DSS will be instrumental in enhancing the position of Dubai as a leading summer destination and in elevating the event to new dimensions that will be parallel to the ever growing global flavour of the city.”
According to the new DSS strategy, each themed surprise will now last the whole 10 weeks unlike the previous editions where one week was allotted for a themed surprise.
“The decision to extend the Surprises was reached taking into consideration requests by visitors who wanted to enjoy each Surprise. Hence, during DSS 2007, no visitor or family will miss any Surprise and we are committed in providing the best possible entertainment during the whole ten weeks,” said Laila Suhail, executive project director, DSS.
At the time of going to press, several details are still under wraps – but organising committee members promised the event would be bigger and better than before.
DSS 2006 welcomed 1.8 million visitors, registering an increase of 25 per cent compared to the year 2005, while the total expenditure figure for local and global visitors marked Dh2.57 billion ($699 million), including spending on shopping, food, accommodation and transportation which registered a sharp increase of 50 per cent compared to DSS 2005. The DSS has been a success from the very first year, when it attracted more than 600,000 visitors with a spending of Dh850 million.
“We expect a considerable increase [in both visitor numbers and total spend] this year, due to the numerous innovative events planned as part of the tenth year celebrations,” said Suhail.
Part of these increased numbers come from new markets around the world. Started with the aim of bringing in tourists from around the GCC, the festival has increasingly targeted markets outside the region, and has seen visitor numbers rise accordingly, in particular, from India and Russia, Suhail said. “The Indian and Russian economies have been witnessing robust growth over the past couple of years and there has been a significant increase in travellers from these regions to tourist destinations around the world. Indian and Russian travellers have taken a liking to Dubai due its geographical proximity and DSS expects a surge in visitors to Dubai over the next couple of years.”
New on the festival’s hit list is the Far East – with a May roadshow seeking to tap this new market. “As of now, there isn’t a particular market or region where DSS promotion is restricted to. We're open to all markets and our aim is to promote DSS globally but at the same time we have charted out a long-term plan based on a step-by-step approach to identify new markets and promote DSS,” said Suhail.
Speaking of the industry’s efforts in promoting the DSS, she said, “Travel agents and tour operators are an integral part of DSS and contribute significantly to every successful edition. We share a mutual understanding with the numerous travel and tour operators to offer visitors the ultimate experience in Dubai during summer. The cooperation also stems from the fact that the aim of both entities is the same – to promote Dubai as a leading global summer destination.   
The DSS office is in constant coordination with travel and tour operators to design the ideal holiday package.”
A new addition has been made to the Ten Surprises this year – Comedy Surprises that will showcase laughter in its best forms. The other surprises include Food, Heritage, Art, Flower, Knowledge, Cartoon, Nature, Adventure, and Global. The ten Surprises will be held on a rotating basis every week in ten malls in Dubai. 
by Keith J Fernandez