Dubai Shopping Festival
Every year, The Dubai Shopping Festival lives up to its promise of staging the most exciting activities for the whole family inspired by the theme One World, One Family, One Festival. As universal brotherhood, happiness, excitement, joy and adventure became the signature trademarks of Dubai Shopping Festival, the Festival itself has become a tribute to the inherent ambition and strength of the people of the United Arab Emirates.
The 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. The 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 ******** 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 ******** map of its new ******** 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 300 hotels 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.
During the Dubai Shopping Festival, visas are easily obtainable at the Dubai International Airport, but most of the visa requirements are still applicable. The DSF has been yearly scheduled from January to February, in order to coincide with the Dubai Desert Classic (golf) and the Dubai World Cup (horse racing).