Dubai gearing up for spectacular journey of celebrations during milestone 20th edition of Dubai Shopping Festival

DUBAI: Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), is currently laying the final touches for staging the milestone 20th edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF). Launched in 1996 and based on the directive of His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, as part of the ambitious vision and efforts to promote the emirate as a destination for family tourism, DSF has now become the longest running festival of its kind in the world.

Organised annually under the universal theme of “One World. One Family. One Festival”, DSF is one of the world’s most popular retail festivals, and the first festival of its kind in the Middle East that has also played a major role in transforming the retail landscape. DSF was also one of the first innovative initiatives that helped put Dubai firmly on the world stage as a shopping destination in addition to further enhancing the economic prosperity of the emirate. The success of DSF over the past 19 years is evident in the statistics – from 1996 to 2014, DSF has attracted 56 million visitors with a total spending of AED 145 billion.

Earlier, in February this year, DFRE had announced the dates of the 20th edition of DSF – from 1 January to 1 February – , and since then the team at DFRE has been in preparation mode with all efforts geared towards conceptualizing, strategising and planning a festival that would befit the honour bestowed on Dubai this year by the International Festival and Events Association (IFEA), which crowned Dubai as the “World Festival and Event City”, for the third time.

Laila Mohammed Suhail, CEO of DFRE, said: “As DSF heads towards its monumental 20th edition, it is no doubt a proud moment for all and an achievement for the city of Dubai. Reaching this milestone is a manifestation of Dubai’s ability to maintain its leadership position in the festival industry and its status as the best city for festivals and events. What makes this achievement more impressive is the consistency of the festival even during the years of the global economic downturn, whereby the wise leadership of Dubai insisted on supporting the festival’s continuity and for it to be held against all odds while many other festivals in the region and the world were either put on hold or cancelled. DSF, however, proved to be a catalyst in helping to re-energize the tourism and retail sectors in Dubai during that period, driving shoppers to malls and retail shops with unprecedented offers and promotions”.

“Dubai Shopping Festival is also a great success story and a role model of what excellent collaboration between the government and private sectors can achieve”, Laila Suhail added. “We have partners and sponsors that have been with us since the first year, which is very rare and commendable for any brand in the world, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for reaching where we are now”.

DFRE has just launched an international marketing campaign to promote DSF 2015 under the marketing slogan “20th Anniversary – A Journey of Celebrations”. The first phase of the promotional campaign will target the key markets of China, Russia and India with the marketing momentum being carried over to other markets including countries in the Middle East and North Africa, in addition to promoting DSF to the local audiences in the UAE and neighbouring countries at a later stage.

The 20th anniversary slogan is a reflection of the marathon journey undertaken by DSF for two decades, on its way to achieving international fame. The theme also is a reflection of the inspiring journey that visitors and shoppers go through when they visit DSF and enjoy its multitude of offerings and rewarding experiences.

Commenting on the marketing campaign, Laila Suhail said: “The campaign aims to showcase the fact that DSF has grown from being just a festival where one merely visits to make purchases or pick up bargains to a destination where people can actually be thoroughly immersed in, as they shop and make their personal choices whether it is shopping for electronics or food or even for entertainment or hotel accommodation. The slogan pays tribute to DSF shoppers as they embark on a journey of personal transformations, starting from what they want to experience to what they want to be”.

It is noteworthy that Dubai Shopping Festival is a concept that differs from other international festivals as is it based on the three pillars of Shopping, Entertainment and Winnings, the main ingredients for the success of Dubai Shopping Festival every year, supported by the solid collaboration between the public and private sectors. DSF is the single most important retail event in the region and serves as a catalyst for economic activity across various sectors in Dubai including hospitality, travel and tourism, currency exchange, transportation and many other ancillary business sectors.

The whole-hearted support extended by the Dubai Shopping Malls Group, and the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group are only a few examples of Dubai’s private-public sector cooperation, Further, the financial support provided by retailers through their participation and sponsorship, alongside government funding, underlines this powerful partnership and has turned DSF into an unparalleled retail success that has helped put Dubai on the world map.

At the heart of the festival is its ability to influence and create an impact on shoppers by providing them a unique and rewarding shopping experience in an entertaining yet relaxed ambience.

The daily mega prizes given away during the Dubai Shopping Festival in the form of luxury cars, gold and cash have not only become a magnet for shoppers but also helped changed the lives of thousands of citizens, residents and visitors.

DSF is truly a shopping haven that features the participation of over 70 malls and 6,000 retail outlets, that offer amazing discounts of up to 75 % on everything imaginable from gold, perfume, haute couture fashion brands, cars, electronics to handicrafts and textiles. With Dubai being ranked only second to London as a city that has the largest collection of international retail brands under one roof, DSF also provides one of the best shopping experiences in the world that is unique and diverse ranging from city and street markets to traditional souks and world-class shopping malls.

The Dubai Shopping Festival also attracts families, children and visitors from around the world through world-class entertainment, giving them the opportunity to enjoy spectacular events alongside their shopping chores, such as the daily fireworks on the Dubai Creek, music concerts featuring international and regional artists, street events like fun fairs and carnivals and performances by roaming artists held across multiple locations.