Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), known in Arabic as 'Layali Dubai',
was first started in February 1996 by the Dubai government
as purely a retail event aimed to promote trade in Dubai.
Since then it has become an annual shopping, entertainment,
and cultural extravaganza that continues to promote tourism
in Dubai and draws people from around the world each year.
The festival shopping event lasts for one month and its slogan is 'One Family, One World, One Festival', but the festival is also called 'Where the celebrations last a month and the memories, a lifetime' and 'The world's best brands at the world's lowest prices'. Due to the continous success of the DSF, a number of the world's best brands have labeled Dubai, the shopping capital of the Middle East.
The Global Village
During the Dubai Shopping Festival exciting activities for the
entire family go on throughout the various areas of Dubai.
main focal point of the festival is the Global
Village, as it is where the international community gather together to display their culture and heritage through exhibitions of traditional handicrafts, clothing, music, and dance. It has been hosted near the
Garhood Bridge for a number of years, but has moved to its permenant place in Dubai
Land, in time for the Dubai Shopping
Festival 2005. This new location is said to be more ideally
positioned, as it is intended to be easily accessible to people who
would be visiting from the nearby emirates of Abu Dhabi and
Sharjah. It is open daily from 4pm to midnight during the shopping festival and for a location map of its new location on Emirates Road, click here.
One of the popular shopping spots during the Dubai Shopping Festival is the
Carpet Oasis. The exhibition showcases thousands of unique, exclusive, handmade, oriental and persian carpets and rugs from around the globe, all under one roof. The Carpet Oasis also offers visitors a large collection of antique souvenirs and is regularly hosted at the Dubai Airport Expo, but is hosted at the Dubai World Trade Center for the DSF 2005.
Shopping and Accomodations
Other popular shopping areas include all the 40+ Dubai
shopping malls and if you are interested in bargaining for prices, than the souqs (tradition open air markets) are the right place for you. Over 2,300 retail outlets participate in the
Dubai Shopping Festival, offering goods and services ranging
from gold, jewellery, electronics, cars, cosmetics, textiles,
and handicrafts, at big cash discounts. Travel and tourism
companies also offer discounted flights and excursions for those wishing to visit Dubai during the festival. Over
in Dubai also participate in the festival by offering deals for hotel accomodations.
Along with all of the shopping outlets, the Dubai Shopping Festival offers a variety of entertainment events, many of which are hosted at the various Dubai public parks. The most popular of these entertainment events include the nightly fireworks, laser/light shows, fashion shows, and music concerts. Some of the most famous Arabic entertainers come and perform during the festival, including Kazim Al Sahir, Nawal Al Zugby, Amr Diab, Milhim Barakat, Asala, Fadl Shaker, Najwa Karam, and Diana Haddad. Another popular event which began in DSF 2003, is the three-day Dubai International Jazz Festival.
Raffles and Awards
The festival also has daily raffle draws,
with prizes of money, gold, Lexus cars, or Nissan Patrols.
Some of these raffle draw require that you purchase a raffle
ticket or else a raffle coupon is given for free after a customer
purchases a minimum of gold or dirhams worth of goods at participating
outlets. In addition to the raffles, the DSF has started an
award ceremony for the Ideal
Arab Mother and Ideal Family Awards, where the winnings
will receive a prize of US$ 10,000.
Many multi-national companies like Visa and
Pepsi sponsor the Dubai Shopping Festival. Emirates
Airlines also is a key sponsor of the event, being the
official carrier offering discount fares and extra baggage
allowance. The festival is a co-operation between the public
(government) and private sector of Dubai.
The Dubai Shopping Festival 2006 will be
running from the 20th of December 2006 to 2nd of February 2007.
For more information about the Dubai Shopping
Festival and its activities, call Ahlan Dubai at +971