The one-month Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), which ended Sunday, was overall well received by tourists, residents and sellers.
The annual DSF, now in its 17th edition, is a four-week-long event where participating shopping malls, supermarkets and food and beverage outlets lure customers with price discounts, raffle tickets and festivities. Even some hotels in Dubai offer room rate discounts to lure travelers to the Gulf sheikhdom.
Leila, 24, from Belgium, told Xinhua that the she liked the festivities like music groups or ballet dancers in the malls, "but pricewise, the discounts boutiques give during DSF are not that attractive, especially for fashion."
Leila added that "nevertheless, the weather and Dubai's luxury lifestyle, its spas, parks and the beach made my trip worth it. In Europe it is so freezing cold these days, and I am glad I escaped. "
For Leo, a 28-year-old salesman from the Philippines working at Golden Gadgets in Dubai's Ibn Batuta Shopping Mall, the DSF was a lucrative period.
"During the DSF, I have much more tourists as clients than usual. They are especially hot on my headsets, as we sell them at a lower price than, for example, in their countries in Europe or North America," he said.
Abdulraham, who came from neighboring Oman to visit friends and relatives for a week, regretted that he did not come earlier in January to Dubai.
"We just arrived two days ago. If I knew about all the raffles to win cars, gold and cash, I would have come earlier and I would have had more chances to win," he said.
The Mall of the Emirates, the only Middle Eastern mall with an artificial ski slope, gives one raffle ticket for every 300 dirhams (81.81 U.S. dollars). The lucky shoppers whose numbers were drawn every week cashed in shopping vouchers worth 100,000 dirhams (27,270 U.S. dollars).
For Alia from Russia, who worked as a promoter for French fragrance producer Lacoste, the DSF "was a very lively time and very lucrative for my employer, as people rushed into nearby beauty shops to buy Lacoste fragrance."
She plans to work again for Lacoste during the Dubai Summer Surprises, which is like the DSF organized by the state-owned Dubai Events Promotions Establishment (DEPE).
Leila Suhail, CEO of the DEPE, wrote on the DEPE website that " 40 Winners of 18 Different Nationalities Take Home 1.6 Million Dirhams (436,000 U.S. dollars) worth of prizes at Dubai Shopping Malls Group's Raffle Promotion."
The DEPE events are a key driver for the sheikhdom's tourism industry in the "low season." In 2010, some 8.6 million tourists visited Dubai.
The DSF was accompanied by a photo competition on the event's facebook page, ongoing shows performed by professionals and amateurs, as well as exhibitions where people with special needs could show their talent.