Despite the global recession, visitor expectations and targeted expenditure at the month-long annual Dubai Shopping Festival 2009 is still pegged at the levels of 2008, when around 3.2 million people visited the emirate and spent about Dh10 billion, according to a top DSF executive.
The festival will commence in Dubai on January 10 and run until February 15.
"In the shadows of the global economic slowdown, DSF Office will aim at maintaining the momentum of last year's figures," Laila Suhail, Chief Executive Officer of DSF, told Emirates Business.
She said: "Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the DSF Office Supreme Committee, revealed the DSF 2008 figures projected 3.2 million visitors with expenditure touching the Dh10 billion in 32 days.
"These figures are a little short from DSF 2006-2007 figures due to the latter being the longest in the history of the event. It was visited by 3.5 million visitors who spent Dh10.2bn but in a span of 45 days."
The expected increase from last year is also due to the opening of new retail destinations such as the Dubai Mall and the Jumeriah Beach Residence – The Walk – the new shopping venues, Suhail said.
The impact of the global crisis also compelled the DSF Office to devise a different marketing strategy to woo visitors, she said, adding that accordingly, efforts were on to promote DSF 2009 in markets relatively unaffected by the crisis such as "the GCC, Russia, Iran, India, China, and Japan".
Around 6,000 retailers, according to DSF Office, are expected to take part in DSF this year with the Dubai Shopping Malls Group and the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group playing a vital role in the participation.
Meanwhile, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing recently said major hotels in the emirate would offer discounted room rates of up to 60 per cent for the festival.
In addition to shopping, there would be number of international concerts being staged, including Iron Maiden, Shaggy, Ustad Zaker Hussain and Tamer Hosni.