The 20th anniversary edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival concluded its “Journey of Celebrations” on 1 February. This festival continues to be the region’s most popular and visited festival in promoting Dubai around the world.
Festival organisers of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) are partners and is the wider retail environment. They have perceived the role of the event in taking Dubai’s success and 43-year-old journey all over the world.
The festival is an impressive annual journey that is actively and enthusiastically celebrated, and this year’s 32-day “Journey of Celebrations” was spectacular when it was successful in welcoming the world and continue to enhance through innovation and partnership and be the longest running festival of its kind.
For millions of people visiting from the world over it was exceptional to attend and participate in the Dubai Shopping Festival. Dubai recorded a staggering 56 million visitors spending a total of AED 145 billion during its first 19 editions.
Her Excellency Laila Mohammed Suhail, CEO of DFRE, said: “The theme of Dubai Shopping Festival 20th Anniversary, ‘A Journey of Celebration’ – is a true reflection of how DSF has been an integral part of the amazing strides the Emirate has taken to become known around the world.
“Today there can be few people around the world who have not heard of Dubai – demonstrating the power that the brand has generated on the global stage. At DFRE we are enormously proud of the way that DSF has become recognised as a vital pillar of that branding success alongside other organisations like Emirates airline, our iconic hotels and buildings such as Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab, state of the art shopping malls and fantastic transport infrastructure.”
Majid Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Shopping Malls Group, said: “The 20th Anniversary of the Dubai Shopping Festival has witnessed tremendous success by drawing in millions of customers to the shopping malls and retail outlets. During the mega event, most of the participating malls offer spectacular events, unique attractions, a rich diversity of entertainment, complemented by attractive value for money prizes and raffles. In turn this has led to a substantial impact on footfall and sales for all malls with a reported double digit increase towards the completion of the festival.
“This on its own is ample testimony to the fact that DSF continues to successfully transform the retail landscape of the city and has efficaciously positioned Dubai as the top global shopping destination for visitors from around the region and the world.”
Vishesh Bhatia, CEO at Jumbo Group, a long-standing DSF partner, said: “Thanks to the dedication and commitment of the DFRE team they have constantly re-invented the festival to keep it fresh, innovative and exciting to offer something new for every edition. This has helped to reinforce the credibility and importance of DSF towards promoting Dubai and encouraging more visitors from more nations every season, which is something we have seen once again during the 20th anniversary edition.”
But retail leaders also explain that becoming such a strong and powerful pillar of the Dubai success story is not something that happens overnight or can be taken for granted.
Speaking on behalf of Visa, Marcello Baricordi, General Manager UAE and Global Accounts Lead at Visa Inc. MENA, says: “As a retail festival concept, DSF is unique in having succeeded for so many years. But that comes through a lot of commitment, hard work and most importantly the fact that organisers are committed to working so closely in partnership with other elements of the Dubai Government and the retail sector.
“The growth that Visa has seen in its payment card usage from a growing customer base around the world during DSF is a very clear indication that the Festival has become a major attraction and asset in communicating the Dubai brand to the world for the past 20 years.”
Global Village has been a well-established attraction during DSF for the past 19 years. Chief Operating Officer Ahmed Hussain added: “There can be no doubt of the enormous impact that the Dubai Shopping Festival has had in participating in taking Dubai to the world over the past 20 years. It is clear that DSF has been a true catalyst for the Dubai brand and at Global Village we are hugely proud to have played our part for 19 years in working with DSF and the Government of Dubai to promote Dubai to a growing global audience.”
Even after recording 20 years of achievements, DFRE continues to work towards making progress. The organisation has witnessed high success in this anniversary edition, they are already planning to look ahead and especially to the role DSF can play in supporting EXPO 2020 and in assisting Dubai achieve higher targets of 20 million visitors a year by 2020.
This year’s festival mainly targeted new visitors from markets like China, Russia and India. The DSF period also saw major increases in European and American visitors enjoying a blend of exclusive shopping and promotions. The visitors spent their time soaking in the beautiful weather and relished the hospitality of many exceptional hotels. Everyone enjoyed varied series of world-class shows, events, experiences and activations.
As H.E. Laila Mohammed Suhail concludes: “DSF has been on an incredible journey for 20 years but for us that journey is far from completed, as we have set our sights firmly on the future and to ensure that our integral role in helping tell the Dubai story continues to grow, expand and develop for an even more successful future.”
Photo courtesy: Supplied