Dubai Shopping Festival 2013
When it happens: January-February 2013(Dates are yet to be confirmed)
Where it happens: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is the second most-populous emirate in UAE after Abu Dhabi. As with the rest of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), the economy of UAE and Dubai, by extension, is largely dependent on petro dollars, although Dubai’s strategic location on the UAE peninsula has also made it an ideal location for interregional trade coming from East Asia, China, Sri Lanka, and India. The Dubai Shopping Festival 2013 was initiated by the local government to expand trade and remove the city’s dependent on oil as a way of earning revenues. Since then, it has grown into a full-blown festival that includes street entertainment and carnival rides, among others.
Dubai was historically at the crossroads of trade, but this initiative brought Dubai to spotlight and became a major tourist draw, making the city the “shopping capital of the Middle East.”
About the Event:
Dubai Shopping Festival 2013 (DSF) is on a scale comparable to Singapore and Hong Kong shopping festivals, if not bigger. After all, Dubai claims to have the world’s largest shopping mall, the Dubai Mall, at its festival disposal. It also happens to be a duty-free zone in the Arab continent, so DSF is 100% a shopaholic’s mecca.
The DSF is a month-long retail festival that offers tempting bargains and discounts, as much as 75%, to all sorts of consumer goods, from high-end name brands to ubiquitous electronic gadgets. It originally started in mid-January and ends towards the end of February, and the schedule remains relatively the same to this day.
A more down-to-earth way to enjoy DSF is to take time shopping in the colorful souks. The Arab culture is permeated with exotic smelling and tasting spices, and they adorn these open-air markets in piles. Souks are an excellent introduction to experience the Arab concept of free-trade, and an ideal location to sample local and regional dishes.
Lest the traveler forgets, Dubai is known as ‘the city of gold.’ All forms of adornment are crafted using this precious metal, which the high-rolling and high-spending shopper can have for his or himself in Dubai’s numerous gold booths, the Gold Souk in particular.
More than a celebration of free trade, however, DSF is a tourist paradise that caters to all manners of merrymaking and having fun. Competitions, raffle draws, fireworks, live and street entertainment, concerts, kiddie games and more await the shopper and reveler. Where there is shopping, of course, there is dining, and Dubai does not fail to delight the food connoisseur or foodie.
A vibrant hub of the (more lenient) Arab world with decidedly Western influences, Dubai stands up to scrutiny of even the most discriminating traveler. As a result, tourists who plan their trip with the DSF will find that Dubai is not only a retail addict’s paradise, but also an oasis of entertainment in the desert of strict Arab/Muslim culture.
While more formal retail establishments assign fixed price to items, friendly haggling is a way of life in the more liberal souks, or open-air markets.
Dubai Shopping Festival 2013 is a must-do itinerary for travelers who want to experience Middle East but enjoy unlimited shopping choices.