Dubai is in a hearty mood as the annual shopping festival enters the final week. Everywhere in the city are sights welcoming tourists. Meanwhile, preparations are underway for the Expo-2020 to be held from October.
In every nook and cranny of the city, the letters DSF (Dubai Shopping Festival) are displayed. Advertisement boards of the Expo can also be seen at major spots, including the smart gate counter in the airport, roadsides, dividers, overbridges and underpasses. Meanwhile, the local people show a willingness to welcome tourists to the city.
A shopping festival that doesn't burn a hole in your pockets, the Dubai Shopping Festival can be entirely experienced only by staying at least two weeks in the city. Visitors make a beeline for Al Seef, a trade-entertainment zone spread over 14 km, round-the-clock. As it is winter, they have a pleasant time at the DSF.
Al Seef’s landmarks are buildings in traditional architecture and selfie points have been arranged at many spots without damaging the old structures. There are big crowds everywhere and tourists travel in boats called ‘abras’ to reach the Gold and Spice souks.
The transformation of Dubai into a modern city started from Al Seef, where traders arrived in search of pearls and corals in olden times. But now stunning high-rises dominate the skyline. On raised platforms on the footpaths at Al Seef, swank cars are displayed. They are prizes to be given away in lucky draws. Visitors not only admire the cars but also buy lottery tickets to test their luck. People who cannot afford the tickets on their own pool in money with their friends to make the purchase. Meanwhile, at 10 pm, a stunning fireworks display lights up the sky.
The Global Village in Dubai invites travellers to experience the cultural attractions of 70 different countries. Along with 26 pavilions, 3,500 shops make the village a truly international destination. Music and dance performances are staged in the village every evening by noted artists from around the world.
At the pavilions set up by countries, visitors can learn about the peculiarities of the place as well as buy special items from there. India too has arranged a large pavilion and one of the most popular areas there is a corner where Indian dishes are served. The delicacies are mostly lapped up by non-Indians.
All the beaches in Dubai have been specially decorated for the shopping festival. Illuminations and unique rides attract children while interesting cultural programmes and food stalls keep the adults engaged. Places like Al Khawaneej Market, Waterfront Market, La Mer and a number of parks witness festivities that continue late into the night.
A similar situation prevails at shopping areas like the Dubai Mall. Visitors can be seen waiting patiently for a long time for a table in their favourite restaurants.
Another interesting development is that even small businesses have increased their staff strength to manage the swelling customers. They have also piled up enough stock and offer fabulous discounts. Items are available at even 80 per cent discount which is good news for people with small salaries.
The talking point in Dubai these days is Expo 2020 to be held from October 20 to April 10. Special packages to buy tickets for the expo have already been announced and the free visa offered to Indian citizens has been widely welcomed. More announcements are expected in the coming days.
In Dubai, a visitor never encounters an economic crisis or global slowdown. Residents of the city are busy engaged in tasks that would improve their business, offer wholesome entertainment to visitors and embrace the most modern technologies. It is no surprise that travellers from all over the world rush to Dubai round the year.