Dubai: Retail industry gets boost from surge in tourism
The growth of Dubai’s retail industry is reliant on tourists to boost footfall, analysts at Jones Lang Lasalle say. “Retail needs high footfall to be successful so the higher the levels of footfall when you’re talking about tourism causes a growth in retail. You need more tourism to create more jobs, more sales and that’s what’s happening in Dubai,” said David Macadam, head of retail at Jones Lang Lasalle.
The 17th edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival is playing a big role in boosting the city’s international shopping footfall. According to the Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE), retail, travel and hospitality spending in 2011 in Dubai contributed a total of Dh15.1 billion to the UAE economy. Of that, DEPE figures show that Dh5.9 billion was spent by regional and international visitors.
According to Leila Suhail, CEO of DEPE, 4 million visits were made to the festival in 2011. Out of that, 884,660 were regional and international visitors coming mostly from India, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia. “The Dubai Shopping Festival plays a major role in supporting the economy of Dubai and boosting it in various sectors,” said Suhail.
Georges Mousa, chairman of tour operator Planet Group, which specialises in bringing in tourists from China, said he’s expecting an influx of Chinese tourists between yesterday until the first week of February partly because of the Chinese New Year and partly because of DSF. “We are expecting around 2,500 tourists during this per-iod for our tour operator group. We are already enjoying an increase of 30-40 per cent compared to 2011,” said Mousa. “The holiday makers who come here from the GCC or China are always buying something as a tourist and that’s what retailers need,” said Macadam.
Hotels that are located next to shopping malls are enjoying a boost in occupancy as shoppers flock to the malls. According to Leonard Theng, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Pullman Hotel, Mall of Emirates occupancy is boosted considerably during the DSF. “One of our USPs is being directly linked to the mall and we have noticed a positive increase in the leisure segment. We are confident that it is due to our location,” said Theng.
A spokesperson for Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates also said DSF is a key period in terms of occupancy with their hotels. “We have seen an increase in bookings from the GCC during the DSF period for leisure visits to Dubai. We expect that most of these guests have come to experience the shopping festival,” he said.
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