DSS 2011 pumps $2.4b into Dubai economy

World’s iconic tower Burj Khalifa Duabi UAE
The UAE, which welcomed over four million visitors during DSS 2011, pumped $2.4 billion into the Dubai economy, according to official figures.

Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE), an agency of Department of Economic Development in Dubai, today revealed results from a market research study conducted on Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS).

The study, based on research carried out during DSS 2011, shows that the boost to Dubai’s economy from retail, travel and hospitality spend during the five week summer festival totalled Dh8.8billion ($2.4billion), including Dh5.9billion spent by regional and international visitors, and Dh2.9billion spent by residents of the United Arab Emirates ($1.6billion and $0.8billion respectively).
During the 2011 festival, an estimated four million people participated in DSS-related activities and events, with a total of 888,882 regional and international visitors and just over three million UAE residents participating.

“The results of this study clearly demonstrate that nothing is impossible for Dubai. Fifteen years ago, the Dubai Government’s decision to launch a summer tourist event raised questions and doubts; many were sceptical of the weather-related challenges, along with possible competition from events hubs and tourist destinations across the region. However, Dubai managed to transform these challenges into opportunities through developing initiatives and infrastructure that has allowed the Emirate to become the destination that we know and love today,” His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, in a statement said.

“Dubai has been incredibly successful in realising growth and development tactics that have been seemingly impossible for others to achieve. Endless perseverance and strategic planning have been driving forces the Emirate’s success, supported along the way by the strength of public and private sector partnerships.”

“The events and festivals industry plays an increasingly important role in supporting the economy and Dubai retains all the necessary elements to lead the events and festivals sectors across the region,” His Highness, added.

The study commissioned by DEPE and conducted by leading independent global research firm YouGov Siraj, surveyed 1,295 international visitors and UAE residents throughout the festival period (June 22 – July 31, 2011). The survey was designed to identify key spending habits, participant engagement, visitor profile, and the impact of the event on the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors.

In an effort to quantify DSS’s impact on Dubai’s economy, consumer research was used to arrive at estimated expenditure figures for UAE residents and International Visitors in town for the festival. Specifically, visitors to Dubai during DSS were asked to estimate their total expenditure on Accommodation, Shopping, Transportation and Food & Beverage while visiting the Emirate. For Dubai residents, the focus for the Festival’s economic impact was primarily on Retail Shopping behaviour as impacted by the festival. The number of international visitors to the city during the festival period was calculated based on DNRD visa data from Dubai Airport during this period, while UAE resident (other emirates) traffic was estimated based upon claimed DSS visitation in a survey of UAE residents.

Survey findings demonstrate the role of the festival in boosting Dubai’s retail and tourism industries. Perceptions of DSS among visitors were very positive with around three-quarters of all visitors surveyed claiming DSS ‘makes Dubai a much more attractive destination’ (73 per cent). The vast majority – 98 per cent – of visitors also rated their experience of Dubai as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ and stated, that based on their experience of DSS 2011, they would consider returning to Dubai in the future (85 per cent).

“Over the last 14 years, Dubai Summer Surprises has played a central role in establishing Dubai as a leading family destination, creating reasons to visit and shop in the city during the summer months. As we prepare for the opening of the 2012 edition of Dubai Summer Surprises – launching on June 14th – this research demonstrates the positive impact of DSS in enhancing Dubai’s attractiveness as a summer destination, as well as its role in encouraging repeat visits. The notable success of 2011’s event speaks to the significance of the festival, and to the value it holds not just for Dubai’s community, but to people across the world,” Laila Mohammed Suhail, CEO of Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment, said.

“Dubai Summer Surprises has generated considerable growth across the Emirate’s tourism sector since the festival’s inception. The number of visitors has multiplied by six; with total spend increasing tenfold over the past 14 years – both clear indications that this festival has forever altered the face of summer in Dubai.”

“The support of the private sector, represented by our strategic partners and sponsors is a key factor in this success. The role of the sector has evolved through the years, transforming from financial contributions, to eventually include planning, marketing and actual participation,” she added.

“The 2011 research findings indicate how DSS supports the Government’s drive to grow the ‘real economy’ of Dubai – encouraging growth among the traditional industries of trade and commerce, which have provided the foundation for the Emirate’s economy over generations. The results show that the festival helps to foster economic growth and supports employment in the retail and events industries, as well as across the broader hospitality and tourism sectors,” Ms. Suhail, said.

“The tourism and retail sectors, regarded as traditional growth sectors of Dubai, are recording robust growth, as highlighted by the record 54 million visitors hosted by The Dubai Mall last year. The various shopping and entertainment initiatives by the Dubai Events & Promotions Establishment contribute to driving tourism from across the region. Emaar Malls Group is honoured to be a strategic partner of DEPE’s activities this summer, including Dubai Summer Surprises, Ramadan in Dubai and Eid in Dubai, all of which will contribute to energising the economy during the summer months,” Nasser Rafi, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Malls Group, said.

“Dubai Summer Surprises continues to be the largest and most-visited summer shopping and entertainment event across the region and Majid Al Futtaim Properties is pleased to be a Strategic Partner for DSS 2012, underscoring our commitment to the DEPE for the 15th consecutive year. Last year’s event witnessed double digit results in performance across footfall and sales, injecting a positive boost to the retail year for our three Dubai flagships: Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre and Mirdif City Centre,” Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, Senior Asset Director, Asset Management, Shopping Malls for Majid Al Futtaim Properties echoed this sentiment, said.

“Dubai Summer Surprises is one of DEPE’s great initiatives which encourage visitors to enjoy all that the city has to offer during the summer period. Our sales during the summer months continue to grow and this is a great indication that successful events such as DSS have a positive impact on the retail sector. Once again we are proud to be associated with DSS as a strategic partner and we are confident that this year’s summer event will be even more successful,” Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, said.

Just under half (44 per cent) of the visitors surveyed were aware of DSS when planning their trip to Dubai. Not surprisingly, Arabs (58 per cent GCC, 57 per cent Levant and 54 per cent North Africa) were most likely to be aware of DSS before coming to Dubai; with Westerners, Subcontinent Asians and other Asians less likely to be aware of DSS when booking (35 per cent, 35 per cent and 24 per cent, respectively).

Shopping was seen as a major attraction for almost nine out of ten visitors to the Emirate (86 per cent). Of the AED8.8Bn spent during DSS 2011, two thirds of this revenue (AED5.9bn) was generated by regional and international visitors. Clothes, fashion items and accessories were the most popular.

DSS purchases for tourists, with more than four out of five visitors purchasing these items (89 per cent). Around three out of every five visitors also took the opportunity to buy perfumes, cosmetics and skincare during the festival (58 per cent).

Most visitors regarded DSS as transcending shopping, with 72 per cent agreeing with the notion that ‘DSS is about much more than just shopping’ and ‘gives the city a very festive atmosphere’ (70 per cent).

DSS is also a highly anticipated event among UAE residents with two-thirds (67 per cent) saying they look forward to the event each year. This was reflected in this year’s participation numbers. UAE residents alone spent AED1.2bn on shopping during DSS 2011. Electronics (including computers, laptops, and mobile phones) and clothes, fashion items and accessories were the most popular purchases, with almost half of local festival goers purchasing both types of goods (47 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively).

Residents were also positive about the malls’ extended hours during DSS 2011, with around four in five people (79 per cent) agreeing that it was ‘a great initiative’ and ‘it encourage me to stay in the malls longer into the evening’ (74 per cent).

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