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Boost for economic sectors in first two weeks of Dubai Shopping Festival

The first two weeks of Dubai Shopping Festival’s 20th Anniversary has led to a boom in business across key economic sectors including retail, aviation and hospitality, and given a major boost to ancillary services like money exchange houses and travel agencies.

Preliminary economic indicators show that shopping malls have witnessed an increase in footfall and sales at their retail outlets, as visitors from around the world have been availing themselves of discounts of up to 75 % on a wide range of merchandise from electronics to home appliances, computers to perfumes, cosmetics and fashion.

Families have also been flocking in large numbers to DSF’s key attractions at several locations in Dubai including Global Village and the Carpet and Art Oasis a trend that is ample testimony to the fact that the festival has grown from being focused on sales and promotions to a citywide achievement offering unique retail experiences through events, promotions and innovation with the active participation of people from all nationalities and cultural backgrounds.

The milestone 20th edition of DSF will continue until 1 February under the theme “20th Anniversary – A Journey of Celebrations” offering unique shopping experiences through over 150 events and activities that are being held across the city. DSF is organized by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

H.E. Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General, DTCM, said: “The successful first two weeks of the Dubai Shopping Festival 20th anniversary has given Dubai’s retailers a confident start for 2015 and also highlights the emirate’s position as a leading family tourism destination. The upsurge in economic activity during DSF is also testament to the retail sector’s contribution to Dubai’s economy and the Dubai government’s strategy of using festivals and events to support tourism growth, as envisaged in Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020. We expect this positive momentum that has been generated to continue throughout the remaining period of DSF”.

Commenting on the performance of various sectors in the first half of DSF, H.E. Laila Mohammed Suhail, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said: “Our responsibility as organisers of Dubai Shopping Festival has increased manifold given that the festival has now become the longest running festival of its kind in the world and a much-awaited annual global attraction. DSF has been an engine of growth for the retail sector in Dubai and has also given a boost to various other sectors like aviation, hospitality, travel and financial services. Today, as we celebrate its milestone 20th anniversary edition, we are delighted at the impact that the festival has made in its first two weeks, and this strong performance reaffirms the continued trust reposed in the festival by our partners, supporters and residents and visitors from around the world. “

“People have always found Dubai an attractive place for shopping, especially during DSF, and particularly due to the shopping-linked activities and promotions. True to our expectations, DSF has further consolidated its status as the best shopping and entertainment extravaganza in the region, largely made possible by the longstanding support of the private sector, especially our Strategic Partners and Key Sponsors. As residents, families, and tourists continue to explore and enjoy the various DSF offerings, we will strive hard to ensure that the remaining two weeks of the festival become even more memorable”.

DFRE’s Strategic Partners for 2015 are Emirates, AW Rostamani Group, Al Futtaim Group, Emaar Malls, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, Paris Gallery, ENOC/EPPCO, Nakheel (Ibn Battuta Mall), Dubai Duty Free, Al Zarooni Group, Meraas Holding, and Etisalat while the Key Sponsors of DSF 2015 are Visa, Emirates NBD, Jumbo, Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group, WAFI and Global Village.

Sheikh Majid Al Mulla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President Commercial Operations, Centre, said: “It’s great to see the Dubai Shopping Festival in full swing for its momentous 20th edition and Dubai is buzzing with bustling shopping malls and numerous associated events, activities and promotions happening around the city. We know many of the visitors that we are bringing to Dubai during this period are coming to avail the best deals during DSF, and this further establishes Dubai as a centre of a broad range of attractive events.”

Malls lure DSF visitors with shopping options, world-class entertainment and array of prizes

Nasser Rafi, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Malls, said: “The 20th edition of DSF continues to define Dubai as the must-visit retail and leisure destination for families around the world, reflecting the theme of the Dubai Plan 2021 announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to establish Dubai as the preferred place to work, live and visit.

“The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest retail and entertainment destination, and Emaar Malls flagship asset, as well as our other malls in the city have recorded robust visitor arrivals and retail sales during the first weeks of DSF. As a Strategic Partner of DSF, we are rolling out a wide range of entertainment activities at the malls as well as the opportunity to win AED 1 million at The Dubai Mall. We are confident that DSF 2015 will be a milestone success and continue to energise the retail sector.”

Hussain Moosa, Associate Director, Shopping Malls for Majid Al Futtaim Properties, said: “The 20th Anniversary of the Dubai Shopping Festival has been a resounding success for our three flagship shopping malls: Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Deira and City Centre Mirdif with positive feedback from our retail partners and valued customers, creating great moments for everyone, everyday,” said Hussain Moosa, Associate Director, Shopping Malls for Majid Al Futtaim Properties.

“We have witnessed robust increases in visitation during the first two weeks of the festival period as a result of our tremendous shopping options, unique prizes and signature events such as the International Fashion Photography Exhibition and the Middle East debut of the Tom & Jerry show. As a Strategic Partner, Majid Al Futtaim extends its congratulations to the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, for a successful start to its 20th Dubai Shopping Festival.”

Omar Khoory, Director of Nakheel Retail, said: “Nakheel is delighted to be a strategic partner with Dubai Shopping Festival as we celebrate the milestone of its 20th Anniversary. At the half way mark of DSF 2015, Ibn Battuta Mall has already welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors, and we expect this success to continue to grow as the festival gathers pace.

“The exciting shopping opportunities, prize giveaways, dazzling entertainment and wholesome family fun on offer at Ibn Battuta Mall are proving a big draw for Dubai’s residents and visitors, and we look forward to continuing our Journey of Celebrations this DSF.”

Commenting on the first two weeks of DSF, Nisreen Boustani, PR and Corporate Communication Manager at Mercato & Town Centre Jumeirah, said: “Mercato is thrilled to be an integral part of Dubai Shopping Festival’s 20th anniversary and is proud to be associated with the longest running shopping festival of its kind which now spans two decades. Since the first day of DSF, Mercato’s exciting Italian themed shows, shop and win promotion and in-store sales and discounts have certainly played a major role in attracting thousands of tourists and local residents to the mall.

Dubai Shopping Festival is an important event on the annual Dubai calendar for both customers and retailers. Since the start of DSF we have witnessed a remarkable increase in mall footfall and we envisage that this will continue over the next couple of weeks”.

Brad Merchant, General Manager, Dubai Festival City Mall, said: “Visitors to Dubai Festival City Mall during this milestone 20th anniversary of the Dubai Shopping Festival are benefiting from the amazing deals and promotions that are being offered by our retailers.The events schedule that we organised in partnership with DFRE also enriched the overall retail experience for residents and tourists of all ages. Moreover, the mall has introduced a ‘Spin the Wheel’ activity with the grand prize centered around the number 20. The activity will entitle customers to win instant prizes from all participating retailers! All this will complement the overall festive mood at the mall and we encourage everyone to visit us during this very special time of the year”.

Abdullah Ibrahim, Director of Local Affairs and Human Resources, WAFI said: “The Dubai Shopping Festival has truly contributed in positioning Dubai as a leading international shopping destination by becoming one of the biggest and the longest running festival of its kind in the world. It is an honor for us to be one of the key sponsors of DSF to offer an array of fantastic shopping, entertainment and winning experiences to residents and visitors from around the world. WAFI Mall is one of the key destinations during DSF, giving tourists the opportunity to enjoy the Egyptian theme of the mall in addition to the many offerings at the popular Souk Khan Murjan and luxury outlets. We have also organised an exciting lineup of retail experiences at the mall including many options to win great prizes with the Wafi Rewards programme. The increase in the use of these cards indicates the growth in the number of visitors and the purchases being made during this period.

Dubai Shopping Malls Group reports 18 % increase in mall visitors
Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG), an umbrella organization of malls set up under the patronage of the Dubai Department of Economic Development, has reported a 18 % increase in the number of mall visitors in the first half of DSF, thanks to promotional campaigns luring mall-goers with attractive discounts and fabulous prizes this year including the “A Million Reasons to Shop” promotion offering shoppers the opportunity to win up to AED 1 million in prizes at participating malls.

Majid Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Shopping Malls Group said, “We are obliged to contribute and further enhance the Dubai Shopping Festival experience. With visitors and tourists flocking to the region to take advantage of the exciting promotions, it is evident that Dubai stands tall with its vision of being an international destination for shopping. So far the promotions have led to a sharp increase in footfall in our malls and we are expecting the final phase to exceed our expectations as well. With the support of our member malls and our commitment to constant growth we are sure to lead the revolution in Dubai’s mall culture to greater heights making it the quintessential value shopping destination.”

Exciting Retail Experiences

ENOC records double digit growth

Burhan Al Hashemi, Managing Director of ENOC Retail, said: “ENOC has been an active supporter of the Dubai Shopping Festival since its inception and is privileged to extend its partnership on the occasion of its 20th anniversary. DSF 2015 further builds on the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to further develop the city’s economy through its focus on boosting tourism and the retail sector.

“We have witnessed an overwhelming response from our customers to the various initiatives we have undertaken at the halfway stage of DSF this year. Both the daily Nissan Grand Raffle and the Infiniti Mega Draw have been extremely popular with customers resulting in double digit growth in both ZOOM and promo pack sales compared to the same period last year.”

Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Fahim, CEO of Paris Gallery Group of Companies, said: “It is as expected. In this 20th anniversary edition of Dubai Shopping Festival, the shopping malls have witnessed high footfall of both visitors and residents. The international marketing campaign that DFRE launched in the GCC, North Africa, China, Russia and India to promote DSF 2015 and highlight DSF’s 20 years of success is proving to be very effective. People are converging in Dubai from all parts of the world this year with high expectations, and I am sure that the city is living up to these expectations. Sales have been very good so far. Paris Gallery has registered an increase of 14 percent compared to last year, which was about 10 percent. We are expecting the same for the next two weeks. This leads me to conclude that the 20th edition of DSF will be a complete success. We are proud to be partners with DFRE, and this fruitful relationship is proving to be good both for us and our customers.”

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman, Dubai Duty Free, said: “The 20th edition of Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), which attracts many visitors to Dubai during the beginning of the year, plays an important role in driving the retail sector across the board. All passengers travelling through Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International – Dubai World Central can enjoy enticing offers and promotions across all Concourses and Terminals. The retail sector’s great deals during DSF have definitely generated a positive response from tourists all over. As a strategic partner of Dubai Festival & Retail Establishment (DFRE), Dubai Duty Free constantly strives to offer passengers a world-class shopping experience. It underlines our commitment to actively promote Dubai as the region’s business and tourism hub.”

Michel Ayat, CEO of Arabian Automobiles Company, Flagship Company of AW Rostamani Group and the exclusive dealer for Nissan, Infiniti and Renault in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, said: “Since its inception 20 years ago, AW Rostamani Group has long been a proud sponsor of the Dubai Shopping Festival. The strategic partnership was established with the aim of bringing many exciting events and festivities to Dubai including the groundbreaking ‘Aquatique’ water show from 1997 to 2001. DSF’s growth and success has exceed all of our initial expectations and the ongoing success of the festival has brought together people from all over the region to take part in its delights. AW Rostamani Arabian Automobiles foresees the vision and Dubai’s prospect for growth, and DSF plays an integral role in contributing to its development.”

He added” Over the years, Arabian Automobiles has given away as prizes over 1,000 Nissan and Infiniti cars and other great incentives across a wide range of products and services. As we continue the momentum into 2015, we hope to put a smile on many faces with a 20-car raffle and guaranteed cash prizes. We are excited to give back this festival season as we’re especially proud of our relationship with Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment and DSF, and we are committed to helping it flourish in the coming years.”

Tawhid Abdullah, Chairman, Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group, said: “The jewellery sector managed to pull in higher traffic to the stores during the last 19 days and this has translated into an increase in the average value per transaction compared with what it was during the previous three months, Based on an analysis we conducted at the midway stage of DSF, we observed that the participating jewellery outlets witnessed a reasonable growth in sales volume during the group promotion compared to the previous year and the figure is steadily growing. The prize of 100 kilos of gold is too big a winning proposition to ignore with the mega raffle draw alone offering a whopping 40 kilo gold and 8 carat solitaire diamonds in prizes to be given away among 8 lucky winners. Shoppers are eagerly looking forward to this life changing opportunity.”

Jumbo sees 15 % rise in sales

Nadeem Khanzadah, Head-OmniChannel Retail at Jumbo Group said: “Product sales have been very positive this DSF. Jumbo saw sales revenue grow by 15 per cent as we crossed the two-week mark since the start of the event, as compared to the same period last year.”

Fares Hamad Fares, Vice President – Corporate Communications at Etisalat, said: “Etisalat’s Strategic Partnership with the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) during Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) comes as part of our national duty and commitment to support the government’s efforts in strengthening the UAE’s and particularly Dubai’s position as a leading family tourism destination in the world. DSF has a significant impact on all the various sectors of the country, as it attracts millions of visitors from around the world each year. This eventually has a positive effect on our business and gives us the chance to reach out to a higher number of customers through our unique services. At Etisalat, we are very pleased to extend our support to all the activities and festivals that give a boost to the country’s tourism industry and economic sector.”

Over 200,000 visited Global Village in first two days of DSF
Ahmad Hussain, Chief Operating Officer, Global Village, said: “The Dubai Shopping Festival period is an important period for Global Village in terms of visitor numbers and this was apparent within the first two days of DSF itself when we welcomed 200,000 visitors to Global Village. Over the years Dubai Shopping Festival has driven a lot of families from other countries to our entertainment and shopping destination, and with each year the footfall grows larger.”

“Guests to Global Village this season can expect some fantastic highlights during the Dubai Shopping Festival celebrations. There are bespoke shows taking place throughout the festival at Global Village, with lots of special acts being brought in specifically for DSF. Shows such as The Musical Spectacular, special events for children and other family friendly entertainment. We are also bringing popular mainstream Arab artists to perform concerts during the month of Dubai Shopping Festival to add to the visitor experience.”

Hotel enjoying high occupancy levels

Commenting on the performance of the InterContinental Hotels Group Dubai Festival City during DSF Mr.James Koratzopoulos , Area General Manager, said: “DSF is traditionally a very important event for the image and development of Dubai – so naturally it is important that InterContinental Hotels Group Dubai Festival City plays its role in this successful initiative. As we are linked to the Dubai Festival City Mall we ensure that there is mutual benefit to all the businesses that are part of Dubai Festival City. Every year in the first quarter, which coincides with the DSF, hotels in our group – InterContinental, Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City and InterContinental Residence Suites Dubai Festival City enjoy high occupancy levels as much as 90 %. The great news is that InterContinental Hotels Group Dubai Festival City is one of the best performers in the region for the company. In terms of specific markets, InterContinental Hotels Group Dubai Festival City is always very well supported by the UAE and GCC markets, as well as traditionally strong overseas inbound markets – during DSF we are ready to cater to all markets.

Tarek Aouini, Manager, Emirates Grand Hotel, said : “The majority of our guests came from the GCC markets, while the next big group of guests came from Europe during the first two weeks of DSF. Other markets also contributed a good share to our hotel occupancy levels. This trend will continue strongly and we are expecting to run a full house for the remaining two weeks of DSF. Further, with the opening of a new Emirates Grand property – Emirates Grand Hotel Apartments – and its increase in the number of rooms, we as a hotel partner are looking forward to continuing our excellent cooperation with DFRE during the 20th edition of Dubai Shopping Festival”.

Travel sector records 5 % growth

Saeed Al Abidi, Chairman of Alaabdi Holding LLC, said: “The percentage of hotel bookings and occupancy at our travel agency has increased and exceeded our expectations. The travel sector has witnessed an increase of around 5% compared to the same period last year, given that Dubai Shopping Festival is as vibrant and sparkling as usual. There is also an increase in the number of bookings to Dubai especially from all the Gulf countries. Already, arrivals from these countries comprise the maximum number of tourists visiting Dubai due to the wide variety of travelling opportunities offered by the numerous travel agencies that successfully cater to their diverse needs. Further, inbound tourists from these countries are spoilt for choice in terms of the wide range of hotels and accommodation choices available for every budget”.

Carpet & Art Oasis achieves over AED 34 million in sales
Abdul Rahman Issa, Chairman of the Carpet and Art Oasis Committee is inviting residents and visitors who love handmade carpets and arts to the Carpet & Art Oasis which is celebrating its 20th edition this year. He said, “The Carpet & Art Oasis visitors have the chance to enter daily raffle to win a handmade carpet just by visiting the exhibition. They also have the opportunity to see “Al Mahmal Al Shami” (a ceremonial palanquin carried on a camel which was the centrepiece of the pilgrim caravan to Mecca). The exhibition has attracted more than 6,000 visitors and recorded over AED 34 million in sales in the first two weeks. Also, more than 1,000 handmade carpets were sold during this period”

Money exchange house sees 10 % rise
Osama Hamza Al Rahma, Chief Executive Officer at Al Fardan Exchange, said: “We have witnessed an ever growing number of tourists at our outlets. Currency exchange transactions have increased in the first two weeks of DSF by 8 to 10% compared to the same period last year. Today, Dubai has become an important destination for people from around the world. Given the festival’s huge popularity, Dubai is experiencing a higher volume of tourists at its many shopping malls, which is creating a positive impact at the exchange outlets and on currency exchange transactions – eventually contributing to Dubai’s economy.”