Dubai: Retail spending during the 45-day Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) is expected to cross Dh8 billion, or about eight per cent of Dubai's Dh110 billion GDP, a statement said.

The DSF 2006-07, ready to kick-start on December 20, is poised to attract 3.6 million visitors which will be at least 15 per cent higher visitor turnout as compared to last year.

"The DSF retail revenue is expected to touch if not cross the Dh 8 billion mark, which is about eight per cent of Dubai's 110 billion GDP - by all accounts a significant figure and a strong enough reason for the strong backing of the retail sector," a DSF statement said yesterday.

"Industry analysts have forecast the retail spending during the shopping festival to be at least 20 per cent higher than the Dh6.67 billion recorded in 2005."

The forthcoming DSF slated to be the biggest ever shopping, entertainment and winning festival has 27 key sponsors to strengthen and support it.

Over 3,000 retail outlets are expected to join in the city wide shopping frenzy and add to the momentum of the grand shopping fiesta.

"A study conducted to analyse the growth of the annual fiesta in 2005 showed that the total visitor number rose to 3.3 million in 2005, against DSF 2004 figures of 3.1 million, with an increase of six per cent, the release said.