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The Business of… Dubai Shopping Festival

With the Dubai Shopping Festival 2011 all set to begin, Kipp takes you through the inner workings of the retail extravaganza (and traffic nightmare).

January 16, 2011 4:23 by


We’ve said it before but the fifteen-year journey of  DSF is, in typical Dubai fashion, the story of a pretty mediocre retail event that spun out of control into the event of the year, drawing in regional visitors not only from neighboring Gulf countries but also from Europe. Consider this: In its first year DSF boasted of attracting 1.6 million visitors who spent Dh2.15 billion; skip forward to 2006, when the festival attracted 3.5 million who spent Dh10.2 billion.

According to the official website the DSF was initiated “to promote Dubai as the ultimate global shopping and tourist destination by creating world class events and retail promotions.”

And going by that definition, Kipp can safely say the DSF has been successful in achieving its aim. Each year since its inception in 1996 has seen the DSF introduce a new initiative: from the Global Village or the carnival at Seef Street to the opening of the Night Souk and the music attractions at JBR.

Constant innovation and significant government backing is at the heart of the success of DSF. According to a recent report, in the 15 years of the Dubai Shopping Festival, the event has attracted 40 million visitors during which time consumers have spent Dh80 billion and won prizes ranging from cars, gold and cash worth Dh1.5 billion. (OK, so if that account of the DSF history doesn’t win us the DSF Journalism award of the year, Kipp doesn’t know what will.)


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