The annual Kuwaiti Halla 2000 shopping festival attracted approximately 130,000 visitors over three weeks, more than doubling the turnout for the 1999 Festival.
Over 60,000 Gulf State residents and about 69,000 visitors from other Arab nations flocked to Kuwait for the extravaganza. 600 shops participated in the festival that runs from March 1 to 31st. While a festive multicultural parade kicked off the event, the discounts of up to 70% were the main draw. Sales exceeded $165 million, Arab Times newspaper reported. Easy entry visas, coupled with 50% discounts on flights and five-star hotel accommodations also had many shoppers packing their bags for Kuwait.
The Shopping focus should not mislead. The festival includes theatre, dance, art shows, music, camel races and sporting events. "This is the real Kuwait. This is when Kuwaitis start to enjoy themselves, and we invite everyone to join in," committee chairman Ahmad al-Mishari announced.
The Dubai shopping Festival, at the other end of the Gulf, attracted a record 2.4 million visitors, and impressive 1.12 billion dollars in sales.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)