Brace for wishful thinking
Apparently, we should brace ourselves for an invasion of British people who want to shop here to avoid UK tax increases. Not going to happen, says Kipp.
December 31, 2010 10:40 by Samuel Potter
Local media often amuses Kipp. From the comedy pictures of a woman’s legs sticking out from a car boot used to illustrate a serious story about attempted kidnap (Emirates 24-7), to their labeling of stories including rapes and horrific road deaths “Crazy World” (again, Emirates 24-7) we always seem to find something to mystify us.
It’s an article of wishful thinking that had us shaking our heads this time around; The National reports that Dubai retailers are getting ready to take advantage of the fact that the UK is about to raise VAT (Value Added Tax on goods and services) from 17.5 percent to 20 percent. Retailers will cash in, says the paper, as British people embark on “shopping tourism” to make their big purchases. The headline? “Dubai braced for shopping invasion.”
“This will help the UAE’s shopping tourism to increase,” said Naeem Darkazally, the associate vice president of sales and revenue at Rotana. “The UAE as a tax-free country means it is always appealing to British tourists. It will always remain a paradise for shoppers.
“With the VAT increase, the prices are becoming astronomical for people in England.”
Yes, prices are becoming high for Brits according to our friends out there. But Kipp has no hesitation in pointing out that a holiday to Dubai is no bargain basement either. So brace yourselves for the fact that, no, Brits won’t be flocking over here to do their shopping.
Kipp will eat its hat if more than, say, 12 British people come to Dubai for a spot of shopping simply because of the VAT increase. It is more than 3,000 miles between here and London; not exactly worth it to save 2.5 percent on something, unless it’s very, very big. And if you can afford the trip, you can probably afford the increased prices in the UK. And we haven’t even mentioned the fact that many things are actually more expensive in Dubai to start with.
People who are coming here will come here, and people who aren’t, won’t. And if they come here, maybe they will buy some stuff. But please don’t try to tell us that some windfall is waiting round the corner because life in the UK just got fractionally more expensive. Given how expensive it is there already, we can’t imagine the VAT rise is going to make much difference to shopping habits there, except maybe that people will shop less.