International shoppers spent nearly half a billion dollars in Dubai during this year’s Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), with a dramatic increase in the spending volumes by Russian and Angolan visitors, according to figures released today.
The figures show the total inbound Visa card spend in the UAE between January 5 and February 5 this year amounted to US$497m, a year-on-year rise of 22 percent compared to the DSF 2011.
The average spend per day during the month long extravaganza was US$15.5m, with sales reaching a peak of $20m on Sunday January 29.
Last year, British buyers were the most lucrative shoppers, but the slowdown in the UK economy has obviously hit the purse strings as they have been overtaken by the Russians and Saudis at the top of the rankings.
The Visa figures showed a dramatic rise in spending by Russian shoppers this year, up 356 percent to US$122m, while Saudis splurged US$106m, an equally impressive 169 percent. While the British fell to third place, they still put US$92m in purchases on their Visa cards, an increase of 108 percent.
Topping out the top five were the Chinese and Americans, while Angolans increased their buyers power from US$11m to US$36, an impressive 219 percent increase.
In terms of categories, lodging was the single biggest expense, with US$112m, a welcome result to landlords across the emirate who are struggling with a glut of new apartments and sluggish rental rates.
Travel and entertainment accounted for US$35m, restaurants US$9.4m and airlines just US$6m.
“It’s great to see DSF 2012 having such a strong impact on the local economy, despite the current global financial challenges,” said Karim Beg, head of regional marketing for Vvsa for Middle East and North Africa (MENA). “Over the years, DSF has really helped put the UAE on the map, attracting visitors from all over the world to take advantage of the great promotions on offer. This year’s success proves yet again the ongoing popularity of the shopping festival, and of the UAE as a leading international shopping destination.”