Latest edition of Dubai Shopping Festival set to play pivotal role in boosting domestic tourism
• 26th edition of DSF, which started on 17 December, will build on growing momentum in retail and tourism sectors
• Strong focus on encouraging residents to enjoy diverse experiences in line with new UAE strategy to promote domestic tourism
• Dubai registers astounding increase of 107 per cent year-on-year in room nights sold to domestic visitors
• Continuous coordination with industry partners designed to provide attractive promotions and packages to UAE residents
• Dubai to continue stringent implementation of health and safety guidelines across tourism touchpoints
The launch of the iconic Dubai Shopping Festival on 17 December is set to provide a major impetus to Dubai’s domestic tourism sector, which continues to be the mainstay of the city’s tourism economy in the light of challenges faced by the global travel industry.
The latest edition of DSF, the longest running festival of its kind in the world, will take the lead in increasing demand for domestic tourism supported by many other events that will be held during the ongoing winter season, in line with the newly launched UAE domestic tourism strategy unveiled by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Year after year, DSF has lived up to its promise of rolling out the most exciting activities for the whole family, bringing together people from diverse cultural backgrounds and nationalities for a grand celebration that is a reflection of the tolerance, multiculturalism and community bonding that have been the hallmarks of Dubai and the UAE.
As Dubai ramps up efforts to woo UAE residents to enjoy the city’s diverse offerings, stakeholders and partners have extended their full cooperation. Hotels and resorts have responded to the improving market conditions by offering a range of incentives to UAE residents including attractive deals on staycations, F&B discounts for in-house guests, free upgrades and booking flexibility, in parallel to the promotions running across the tourism ecosystem including the retail, entertainment and events sectors.
The period from May to October 2020 has seen a significant growth in room nights sold to domestic visitors, from 2.74 million in 2019 to 5.68 million in 2020, an astounding increase of 107 per cent year over year. As a percentage of room nights sold, domestic room nights amounted to 77.7 per cent compared to 18.9 per cent last year, an impressive growth of 58.8 percentage points. During these six months, Dubai’s domestic tourism sector was largely driven by UAE Nationals (40 per cent), India (11 per cent), Philippines (seven per cent), Egypt (five per cent) and the United Kingdom (three per cent).
Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), commented: “Inspired by the guidance and various initiatives of our visionary leadership, the domestic tourism sector played a pivotal role in driving the city’s tourism economy in 2020. As we head into 2021, we see that continuing to be the case, even as international visitation maintains a steady growth ever since the city was reopened last July to welcome global travellers. While our tourism sector has consistently delivered great value to international travellers, the pandemic brought to the forefront the huge potential that exists in the domestic tourism sector and the need to provide many more UAE residents the opportunity to enjoy the city’s world renowned destination proposition and experiences. As one of the first few cities in the world to restart the events sector, Dubai is committed to leveraging its festivals and events such as the Dubai Shopping Festival to enhance the domestic tourism market.
“Since reactivating this sector in May with the wholehearted support of our stakeholders, we have seen a substantial improvement in numbers with residents looking at staycations, and many beachfront properties reaching high occupancy levels. Apart from the hospitality industry, the campaign to encourage UAE residents to experience the diversity of Dubai’s destination offering has also benefited other sectors that support tourism growth including retail, attractions entertainment and events.
“By revitalising the domestic tourism sector we also succeeded in creating a positive perception and instilling confidence in residents and visitors. A key part of this effort is the effective citywide management of the pandemic and the stringent implementation of health and safety measures spanning all tourism touchpoints that reassure guests and travellers that Dubai is one of the world’s safest destinations.”
Festivals and events including Dubai Summer Surprises, the Back to School campaign, the Dubai Home Festival and the Dubai Fitness Challenge have all helped boost Dubai’s domestic travel market this year. The 26th edition of Dubai Shopping Festival, which will run until 30 January, will be the biggest ever, with live concerts, raffles, events and unbeatable retail experiences, reinforcing the fact that Dubai is open and has regained its vibrancy as a unique destination offering multiple experiences spanning many leisure propositions – from shopping to heritage, family-oriented attractions to entertainment, outdoor adventures to beach activities, from gastronomy to luxury.
Residents and visitors are able to experience the diversity of Dubai’s unique offerings, with wide-ranging health and safety measures at all points of customer interaction. Dubai Tourism also launched the ‘DUBAI ASSURED’ stamp in collaboration with the Department of Economic Development and Dubai Municipality to certify and recognise hotels and retail establishments, F&B outlets and attractions that have implemented all public health protocols. Dubai’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of hygiene and safety received a strong endorsement from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which gave the city a ‘Safe Travels’ stamp.