Dubai: Last-minute bargains and a glitzy closing ceremony marked the end of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) on Sunday.
The 32-days of gold, cash and car prizes, sales, shows and events concluded with DSF organisers hailing the annual festival a success.
DSF has been running since 1996 and the latest 18th edition began on January 3.
In DSF tradition, there were daily raffle winners, fireworks, bargains galore, and a dizzying variety of shows, events and performances.
An army of visiting shoppers and tourists flew in for the festival, snapping up deals and enjoying Dubai’s attractions, some of them exclusive to DSF for the first time. Friends and families here too took advantage of the raffle prizes, discounts and DSF shows.
And though the latest business figures are not yet available, a number of leading outlets said in a mid-DSF report that sales jumped about 50 per cent over the first half of 2012 DSF.
This year’s visitor numbers are said by DSF organisers Dubai Events and Promotions and Establishment (DEPE) to be in the millions, while billions of dirhams have reportedly changed hands.
Last year, DSF attracted 4.36 million visitors while Dh14.7 billion was injected into Dubai’s economy — Dh8.9 billion from shopping alone, according to a 2012 DEPE-sponsored survey.
On Saturday, a number of electronics stores in Mirdiff City Centre were offering an extra Dh50 or Dh100 off the listed price on selected mobile phones, or including more accessories in the final DSF push.
And Sunday also saw some eleventh-hour bargain hunters head to the malls, hoping to land special deals as stores offered the last of their DSF packages.
Meanwhile, a private DSF closing ceremony was held on Sunday at the Madinat Jumeirah resort in Dubai. The event included the DSF 2013 Journalism and Photography Awards, in which Gulf News won a record seven awards.
The accolades were given away by Shaikh Majid Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture.)
The event was also attended by senior officials such as DEPE CEO Laila Mohammad Suhail and Ebrahim Saleh, Festivals Coordinator General, DEPE. There were other winners from local and regional media present as well.
The ceremony started with the UAE national anthem, followed by a short film about DSF highlights. Attendees were then treated to a Black Light Show, comprising silhouettes of performers behind a screen who twisted and turned themselves into outlines of Dubai landmarks and demonstrated shopping and leisure themes from DSF.
DEPE CEO Laila said: “We are here today also to underline the solid bond that ties the Government of Dubai with all media mediums. A relationship that is based on unparalleled transparency and freedom of speech set by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.”
She added: “Today, we draw down the curtains on the 18th edition of this magnificent festival, and looking back, we are indeed very pleased with what the event has achieved across the years. Since its first edition in 1996 and up to 2012, Dubai Shopping Festival has managed to attract around 46 million people that spent more than a whopping Dh110 billion, and it has registered more than 50 records in the Guinness Book of World Records.
“Undoubtedly, DSF raised, and continues to raise, the bar of excellence in the festival industry to new heights with each edition, significantly contributing in awarding Dubai the ‘World Festival & Event City’ award for 2011 and 2012.”