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DSF 2012 rakes Dh14.7b during festival period

Last year's festival attracted a total of 4.36 million visitors, of which 895,000 were international and regional tourists

Gulf News

Dubai: The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) contributed Dh14.7 billion ($4 billion) to Dubai’s economy in the festival period from January 5 to February 5, according to a study released by the DSF organisers on Wednesday.

The festival attracted a total of 4.36 million visitors, of which 895,000 were international and regional tourists, according to the study commissioned by Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE) and conducted by pollster YouGov. The number of visitors rose by nine per cent from 3.98 million in 2011, stated the report, which was released nearly a year after DSF 2012.

Although the festival contributed about $1 billion per week, overall spending declined slightly year-on-year, down from Dh 15.1 billion in 2011 to Dh14.7 billion this year. However, spend on shopping increased from Dh 8.7 billion to Dh8.9 billion, and accommodation spend was up from Dh2.7 billion to Dh2.8 billion.

“The tourism and retail sectors are historically two of the main pillars on which the Emirate of Dubai has built its economy, add to it a thriving event sector and they entwine with the state of-the-art infrastructure that Dubai has and the result would be a substantial contribution to the city’s GDP. Our main economic sectors are undoubtedly reaping the benefits of Dubai’s Government resolve on enhancing its infrastructure in the past years,” Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group and Chairman of Dubai World, said in a statement.

Asked about the forecast for DSF 2013, Laila Suhail, chief executive of DEPE, told Gulf News: “We always look to maintain the same momentum and we look positively at this year. We think we will exceed last year’s figures in visitors and expenditure.” The next edition of DSF will run from January 3 to February 3, 2013.

Some retailers are upbeat about DSF 2013 and aim to grow their sales during the festival. “We expect to do well. Dubai is really growing and going from strength to strength,” said Vipen Sethi, chief executive of the Landmark Group that owns brands like Splash, Home Centre and Centrepoint.


During DSF 2012, international visitors rated shopping as their favourite activity in Dubai, ahead of sightseeing or going to the beach, with 97 per cent having shopped or looking forward to shopping during their stay. Their top festival activities were Global Village, fireworks and entertainment on the JBR Walk.

About 28 per cent of international visitors came from Europe, 23 per cent from GCC and 16 per cent from South Asia.