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The lure of Dubai’s malls
Malls are some of Dubai's biggest attractions. But do they continue to attract tourists and residents like they used to, in spite of the financial crisis?
July 11, 2009 8:37 by Dana El Baltaji
Spending the summer in the GCC is terrible. It isn’t just the weather that makes it torturous, but also the array of sprawling, shopping havens we’re forced to visit. During the summer, there’s simply nowhere else to go.
Thankfully, however, malls in Gulf nations have transformed from mere commercial hubs to all-round entertainment centers. For some tourists, a GCC city is as good its mall collection.
Out of the GCC’s cities, Dubai has excelled in offering the region’s most outrageous mall-cum-entertainment centers. From the sprawling Dubai Mall, with its aquarium, its soon-to-be completed Sega Republic and The Dubai Fountain, to Mall of the Emirates’ indoor ski slope, Dubai has positioned itself as a regional hotspot in the summer, in spite of the soaring temperatures.
Yes, it’s too muggy to be outdoors. And yes, the sea is hot enough to hard-boil your feet, but the malls are well air-conditioned, and there’s plenty to do.
If you have the money, that is.
Malls, unlike historical and cultural tourist attractions, require its patrons to pay continuously to enjoy themselves; simply walking around the mall without buying anything won’t work. Ultimately, you will buy something, either an experience or a product.
And it’s not cheap: an adult day pass to Ski Dubai costs AED300; a standard coffee costs roughly AED12; a movie ticket costs AED30.
In short, being in a mall is expensive. And with a financial crisis still ruining lives worldwide, many potential mall-goers are loathe to spend their dirhams needlessly, right?