Dubai Shopping Festival woos Indian travellers

Shopping takes on a different meaning at the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF). Its glitter has drawn more Indians this year to the annual shopping event.

“Over the past few years, we have recorded double digit growth from India for the DSF and we believe this trend will continue. We usually witness approximately 80 per cent load factor from our 10 routes from India,” said Afzal Parambil, Business Development Manager, Emirates Holidays.

DSF began in 1996 as an initiative of the Dubai Government to promote trade. The festival offers a plethora of shopping discounts, attracting holidayers from around the globe. The festival began on January 3 and will go on till February 3.

According to tour operators, maximum bookings come from South India for the DSF. “Air travel bookings to Dubai from Kerala have doubled during this season of the DSF,” said a Mumbai-based travel agent. Other agents said travel packages to the DSF have witnessed a massive increase of about 75 per cent in terms of sales.

This year, Emirates Holidays is offering a return package starting Rs 24,849 a person on twin-sharing basis from Mumbai. The fare includes return economy class airfare as well as hotel accommodation on a twin-sharing basis, room tax and service charges.

Jet Airways too received an encouraging response for the festival. With the festival coinciding with the peak travel season till January 14, the number of arrivals from India to DSF is expected to be much higher.

Jet Airways’ has introduced JetEscapes holidays for guests travelling for the DSF till February 3. The all-inclusive ‘Bonanza’ package starts from Rs 32,490 and the ‘Extravaganza’ holiday package starts from Rs 36,380. Both packages include return air travel in economy class (inclusive of all taxes), airport transfers, 3-star hotel accommodation with breakfast, city tour and travel insurance. This is the fourth consecutive year of Jet Airways offering special holiday packages for the festival including hotel bookings. The airline recently started a second service on the busy Delhi-Dubai route.

According to tour operators, travel packages to the DSF have witnessed a massive increase in terms of sales. “Our forward bookings for DSF have seen a 35 per cent increase this year,” Madhav Pai, Director, Leisure Travel (Outbound), Thomas Cook (India). The DSF tour packages of Thomas Cook (India) start from $ 248 a person for three nights and four days (excluding air tickets).

The package includes a guided city tour, desert safari with dinner and Dhow dinner cruise on the Dubai Creek.

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