The Dubai Shopping Festival is around the corner. In fact, this retail celebration kicks off on the 2nd January 2014 and runs until 2nd February 2014 and offers an infamous shopper’s paradise for unbelievable promotions and deals throughout the country.
The Dubai Shopping Festival is arguably one of the best known celebrations on the globe – particularly if you love to shop. During the month long shopping festivities, shoppers crowd the streets on the lookout for bargains and amazing finds. But it’s not all about shopping, the festival has proved to be a wonderful family entertainment event.
The Dubia Shopping Festival was first held in 1996 and today enjoys a cult-like status with some 3.35 million visitors each year. The event epitomizes a classy and current show of style and although the event originated as a shopping festival, it has widened its offering to include exhibitions, musical concerts, fashion shows and a multitude of competitions and other events. There are also daily car raffles where participants stand the chance to win some seriously high end cars.
Oh, The Shopping!
From Levi and Gucci to Jimmy Choo and Dolce & Gabbana too, Dubai is without a doubt the place to be as the clock turns over into a New Year and brings in the next Dubai Shopping Festival. Sponsored by Visa, the festival is set to take shoppers by storm in 2014 with specials on absolutely everything from carpets to electronics and everything in between. (DFA recommends checking out the shopping at the airport too!)
The festival is opened with talented street performances and a magical firework display as shoppers flock to enjoy the highly discounted shopping. Typically, shopping in Dubai is largely tax-free, and there is no difference during the festival. Well, a slight difference – shopping malls and individual retails are set to offer up to a whopping 75% discount on an array of items including perfumes, jewelry, textiles and handicrafts from mega brands.
With over 68 world-class malls in the country, Dubai showcases the best of both authentic Arabic and Western shopping. One of the biggest highlights for any visitor is by far a trip to the Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the region. The mall offers more than 1200 shops bound to delight, intrigue and entice even the most astute of shoppers. The mall caters for the whole family with a variety of entertainment options such as the Dubai Aquarium, SEGA Republic, Underwater Zoo and Kidzania.
There remains something quite special, though, about experiencing traditional shopping in Dubai via the markets or souks. From textiles and spices to carpets and gold, the idea is to shop, shop and shop some more. Visiting the souks offers visitors the opportunity to pick up authentic and traditional souvenirs like Arabic coffee pots, preserved dates, antique silver jewelry, traditional daggers, marble goblets, trinket boxes and other Arabian trinkets.
With so much on offer the Dubai Shopping Festival is set to get credit cards swiping and tongues wagging!
What to Expect
The festival plays a big role in Dubai’s tourism industry. Here’s what else you can expect during the shopping festival.
During the month long festival, the malls in Dubai are lined with electronics, jewels, carpets, clothing, perfumes, watches and arts and crafts which are all offered at highly discounted prices. So if you’ve been eyeing that Armani suit for some time, now could just be the perfect chance to grab it.
The souks (Dubai markets) also get involved in the festivities with the Gold Souk being the most popular. The spice souk is also usually a favorite.
Apart from the great tax-free discounted rates, shoppers can stand to win numerous daily and weekly prizes organized by participating retailers and malls. Prizes have been known to range from Dh. 100 000 cash and a luxurious car. The Dubai Gold and Jewelry Group also take part by offering shoppers the chance to win an incredible 21 kilograms of gold worth Dh. 4.5 million in a raffle.
The Dubai Shopping Festival opens with an incredible firework display and continues to offer rich cultural programs and entertainment all month long. There are international fashion shows, film festivals, street-side performances, musical shows, nightly fireworks, cultural events and loads of performing artists. The Dubai parks also get involved offering mini fun fairs, Dubai Creek Tours, acrobatic shows, Flower Garden, World of Ice, Spiderman Zone, remote-control boats, helicopter tours and there is even a China Town. The streets are draped in color too adding to the joyous festivities.
The Dubai Shopping Festival Carnival
Annually there is a parade with international artists and acrobatics along with dancers and percussionists. There are literally all types of performers from unicyclists and jugglers to stilt walkers and musicians. Visitors can catch live performance and jazz concerts performed by renowned musicians. There are a variety of different platforms and every year at least 300 performers participate. The events are held every weekend during the month of the festival.
This is another huge attraction during the Dubai Shopping Festival. The Global Village allows visitors to explore international heritage as well as cultural diversity. This is a unique concept that marries the entire globe under one roof. The village represents the culture of every single country, each of which has its own pavilion and local products are displayed. There are also food stalls, entertainment events, sporting activities, children’s rides and daily lucky draws.
One of the most notable children’s shows during the festivities is held at the Dubai Dolphinarium. There will be cartoons, circus shows and a Children of the World Olympiad.
The camp offers fantastic activities including horse riding, quad bikes and camel rides.
Food, Glorious Food!
The gourmet fare is one of the major attractions during the festival. Visitors can satisfy their taste buds with scrumptious cuisines prepared from every corner of the world, ranging from French and Italian to Chinese and of course local Arabic delights. Culinary workshops are held with renowned chefs, celebrity chefs put on displays and there are living cooking counters as well as interactive events and, as always, exciting prizes.
Sporting enthusiasts in Dubai during the festival can indulge in a range of activities including football, tennis, ice hockey, rowing and skating as well as Russian Ballet on ice.
Getting to the Festival
Many tour operators and travel agencies operate services to the United Arab Emirates and offer special discounted tour packages for the festival. Emirates, for example, typically offers attractive tour packages geared towards visitors to the Dubai Shopping Festival with the likes of Pay 3 Stay 4 packages that include accommodation in highly-rated city hotels, complimentary airport shuttle services and one or two tours to discover Dubai.
Before you head off to the greatest shopping festival on the planet, remember to take a look at what you can pick up duty free in Dubai. When you do get there, head off on some exciting sightseeing tours too and fuel-up on gorgeous local delights before shopping till you drop!
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