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Dubai Shopping Festival gets bigger and better

The 20th edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival, DSF, the 32-day shopping extravaganza which runs from January 1st to February 1st, celebrates another milestone this year for being the longest-running festival of its kind in the region. It has come a long way since it was first announced by Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in August 1995, said a report by UAE daily, Gulf News.

"Over the last three decades, Dubai has gained international prominence as the City of Merchant Enterprise. This has been made possible largely by the spirit of trade and adventure exhibited by our trading community. The Dubai Shopping Festival 1996 is a celebration of this event," Sheikh Mohammad said, when he launched his brainchild in 1995.

Back then, there were just around 10 malls operating in the city, and shopping wasn’t the top crowd-puller for Dubai.

Nearly two decades and 19 editions later, Dubai has attracted a total of 56 million visitors throughout all the DSF events, who have collectively contributed AED145 billion to Dubai’s economy.

It now boasts of an average of 4.4 million visitors, spending a total of AED15 billion. This means they are injecting roughly AED325,520 per minute into Dubai’s economy for 32 days.

That’s a far cry from when DSF first started in 1996 with 1.6 million visitors, with generated revenues of more than AED2 billion.

"Today, Dubai enjoys an enviable position on the world map as a result of its thriving retail and tourism sectors and is poised for massive growth and development in the future, under the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad," Laila Suhail, CEO of Dubai Festival and Retail Establishment, DFRE, the organiser of DSF, said.

"The fact that DSF is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and is expected to attract millions of visitors to the city once again is proof enough that Dubai’s shopping, tourism and entertainment offerings are truly world-class." This year’s special theme, ‘A journey of celebrations’ includes outdoor events, concerts, family-centric celebrations, leisure and high-fashion events.

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