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
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 permanent 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
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).