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The lure of Dubai’s malls

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

So rather than a general decrease in mall-goers, Bharwani claims an increased footfall in one mall necessitates a fall in visitor numbers elsewhere. Visitor numbers, then, are being rearranged not shifted.

And given that Egypt-based EFG-Hermes predicted that Dubai’s population is likely to decline by as much as 17 percent, from 1.79 million in 2008 to 1.49 million in 2009, there is little wonder that there aren’t enough footfalls to go around.

To truly quantify Bharwani’s answer, however, we’d have to ask malls to release their visitor numbers. So we did; they didn’t like the idea.

And as for getting tourist numbers to determine whether the DSS has succeeded in attracting tourists to Dubai, despite the global economic crisis and Dubai’s horrendous summer weather, we drew a blank, although it wasn’t for lack of trying. We contacted the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing repeatedly for answers, but to no avail.

So here’s Kipp’s hypothesis: yes, malls are still attracting tourists and residents, although not as they used to. Tourists are lured to Dubai by discounts offered by Emirates airlines and participating hotels, and they like the idea of experience affordable luxury.

Affordable luxury, after all, was Dubai’s forte. In the past, tourists would travel to Dubai for the five-star experience without having to spend a fortune on great service.

Today, Dubai is making a return to its old-tricks: reasonable room rates, discounts, mind-blowing prizes and as corny as it sounds, affordable family fun in glitzy malls.

It’s about time.

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