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What better way to start the year than with DSF 2016

posted on 01/01/2016: 2200 views

With the arrival of the new year, comes the most-awaited event of the city - the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) 2016. An extraordinary shopping journey awaits residents for 32 days starting today (January 1). Organisers of DSF have planned an elaborate line-up of events, activities and promotions built around the festival's 2016 tagline "Unwrap The Exceptional". Laila Mohammad Suhail, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) speaks to Khaleej Times on DSF 2016 and more.

A big part of the DSF 2016 experience has a lot to do with the atmosphere created by its three main pillars - shopping, entertainment and winning. As the longest running and most successful shopping festival of its kind in the world, we are working even more closely with retailers this year to incentivise them to create innovative promotions and activations, which will attract and delight shoppers. Basically what we are trying to demonstrate is that DSF is not about sales and discounts anymore, it's about unique experiential shopping.

DSF 2016 has distinct themes that enhance the shopping element, as we have created four different retail themed platforms - Beauty, Gold and Jewellery, Apparel and Fashion, and Perfume. Within each theme we have invited retailers to use it as a platform for innovative retail events and activations.

On the entertainment front, performances by international and regional stars will enthral residents and visitors while traditional attractions will always draw visitors, such as the fireworks shows - which will take place across three locations around Dubai - and the Carpet and Art Oasis.

The DSF Mega Raffles will once again spearhead the winning aspect of DSF. This year we have gone further, as visitors who buy a raffle ticket for Dh200 have the chance to win a prize of a lifetime every day - an Infiniti QX70 car plus Dh200,000 in cash.

Also, for the first time in the history of DSF, the Gold and Jewellery Group is giving away three grand gold prizes every day, in addition to exciting new promotions being run in collaboration with the Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG).

More importantly, we have created a massive Brand Advocacy programme, that will witness around 100 local, regional and international celebrities, influencers, singers and key opinion leaders flock to Dubai to interact with DSF 2016, one way or the other.

'Unwrap the Exceptional' theme

In the past two decades, DSF has changed the lives of thousands of shoppers and visitors, not only through its amazing prizes and raffle draws, which amount up to almost Dh2 billion since its inception, but also through creating unforgettable moments for all visitors. DSF always rewards its shoppers and visitors, and we can proudly say that it's the 'most rewarding festival in the world'.

So establishing that DSF rewards its visitors on several levels, with monetary, physical and emotional gifts, we are calling on public to interact with DSF and unwrap the exceptional gifts that DSF offers them.

This new tagline really defines everything at DSF as a gift that is waiting to be unwrapped and cherished, while also celebrating the many surprises and offerings of DSF.

'Market Outside the Box'

This will be the third year that 'Market Outside the Box' (Market OTB) will be taking place during DSF. Over the years it has become increasingly popular and will take place in Burj Park, under the towering Burj Khalifa. The event focuses on emerging local and international brands giving them a chance to take centre stage for 10 days during DSF. Over 80 brands from all over the globe will be encouraged to showcase their products and services and promote grass roots engagement. Market OTB will also be providing visitors the opportunity to experience fantastic shows, activities, music, dance and poetry, or even catch the latest creative documentaries at the Market OTB's pop-cinema.

Celebrities attending DSF 2016

As part of our brand advocacy programme we will have over 100 celebrities, influencers and trendsetters from various spheres including music, fashion and beauty visiting Dubai during DSF who will share their experiences and showcase their skills. The mix of international, regional and local celebrities, influencers and trendsetters will promote DSF to an international audience and expand the reach of Dubai as an international shopping destination.

Expected revenue

As a retail festival, DSF has had a huge impact on the local business community with many retailers projecting 25 to 30 per cent of the annual sales happening during DSF. On an average, DSF local, regional and international visitors spend Dh15 billion during the 32 days of DSF in recent years, and we are looking to maintaining the momentum this year.

Exceptional experiences

This DSF is all about making the shopping experience in Dubai unique for local residents and tourists alike. Indeed, DSF 2016 will be quite exceptional with over 150 events and activities ensuring that it is a festival to remember. Among the attractions that one should look out for is the fascinating Al Faris musical play, the Hermes Wanderland exhibition making its debut in the Middle East, its third stop after London and Paris, the Dubai Arabic Concerts featuring some of the Arab world's iconic singers, and of course the new-look Market OTB. Partnering with malls and shops, we have developed creative ideas to be able to reward shoppers through raffles and through new initiatives, such as the Shop, Play & Win promotion at participating malls.


Fireworks are a massive part of celebrating DSF every year as they enhance the wonderful atmosphere that is in the air during this time of the year. DSF 2016 will give local residents and tourists the gift of fireworks at three locations - The Beach at JBR, The Creek and Global Village - but only on weekends throughout DSF.

Challenges of organisation

DSF gets bigger, more complex - but more rewarding and exciting every year. Now in our 21st edition we have an enormous wealth of experience in organising an event of the scale of DSF. But it is something that we cannot achieve alone and we are thankful to our many long-term partners and sponsors for their continuing support and dedication to the success of the festival.

DSF is a truly citywide phenomenon involving over 6,000 retailers, every shopping mall and a host of different entertainment locations. This year we have more than 150 events and activities in our 32-day line-up. Organising DSF is a hugely challenging task - but one that is enormously rewarding for everyone involved as we work to enhance the experience of shoppers and families who visit Dubai from all over the world and who are eager to find new exceptional experiences at every edition of the festival. The festival is also working hard towards contributing to Dubai's Tourism Vision of achieving a goal of 20 million visitors in 2020.

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Watch out for DSF 2016

> Shopping element boosted by four different retail themed platforms - Beauty, Gold and Jewellery, Apparel and Fashion, and Perfume

> Entertainment - Performances by international and regional stars

> Fireworks shows at The Beach at JBR, The Creek and Global Village on weekends throughout DSF.

> Carpet and Art Oasis

Your chance to make it big this DSF

> DSF Mega Raffles

> Buy a raffle ticket for Dh200 and participate in the chance to win an Infiniti QX70 car plus Dh200, 000 in cash

> The Gold and Jewellery Group is giving away three grand gold prizes every day. – Khaleej Times -


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01 February 2016 Curtains down on DSF 2016
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