The world’s largest shopping mall, the Dubai Mall, is due to open in Dubai at the end of August 2008. Set to be Emaar Malls Group’s flagship shopping mall development, Dubai Mall will be located at the centrepiece of the region’s most prestigious urban development to date, Downtown Burj Dubai, soon to be home to the world’s tallest building.
The Dubai Mall will add to the emirate’s impressive portfolio of shopping excellence, resulting in an unprecedented surge in Dubai’s retail sector, which is the fastest growing industry in the Middle East. According to industry forecasts, it has recently been announced that the retail sector is projected to exceed £250 billion in the Middle East by the year 2010, with Dubai leading the way in the region.
Dubai accounts for more than 50 per cent of the UAE’s shopping footfall and has long been famed for its world-class malls and the range of shops on offer. With everything from high-street stores such as Boots, Debenhams, and H&M to a range of designer boutiques including a branch of Harvey Nichols, shopping in Dubai has something to offer everyone. And now with the opening of the Dubai Mall, visitors can expect even more from the emirate.
The size of 50 football pitches, Dubai Mall is expected to attract well over 30 million visitors in its first year alone. The project will be a lifestyle and entertainment destination that will introduce pioneering and innovative leisure and entertainment concepts, set to revolutionise the modern shopping experience.
Amongst some of the ground-breaking attractions that the Dubai Mall will offer are 1,200 stores and 120 food and beverage outlets. It will also boast magnificent water features and one of the world’s largest indoor aquariums, the world’s largest indoor gold souk, an Olympic-size ice rink, and the region’s first SEGA indoor theme park.
In addition to the Dubai Mall, there are well over 50 other shopping malls with a variety of retail outlets including Souk Al Bahar an entertainment destination with over 130 shops. Dubai Outlet Mall, which launched at the end of 2007, and promotes value-shopping by retailing big brands such as Calvin Klein and Guess at fantastic discounts. And Wafi Mall one of the first shopping malls in the emirate and part of the Egyptian themed Wafi City, which boasts Cleopatra's Spa, Pharaoh's Club including a climbing wall and lazy river, and Khan Murjan - a subterranean artisan's market. More information on Dubai’s shopping malls and facilities can be found at dubaicityguide.com/shop.
Dubai Duty Free at Dubai International Airport is about ten minutes from the city centre and ranks among one of the largest duty-free operations in the world. Furthermore, the emirate has created a range of events to celebrate its shopping excellence. Dubai Summer Surprises, which runs in the summer months, and Dubai Shopping Festival which is the largest retailing event in the Middle East and runs in the winter, are host to a variety of activities.
Shopping malls are converted into venues for live entertainment, music, dancing, competitions, workshops and interactive programmes. These events are organised and promoted by a unique partnership between the Government of Dubai and the city’s enterprising corporate sector, acting as a catalyst in the development of Dubai’s growing retail sector and establishing the emirate’s place on the regional and international map.
For a more authentic experience, Dubai’s traditional Arabian souks showcase the emirate’s finest local products, from gold, spices and textiles through to fruit and fish. Remnant of the 19th century, the majority of souks are located in the Deira and Bur Dubai districts and are great places to haggle for a bargain.
Ian Scott, UK and Ireland director of the Government of Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing comments: “Dubai has seen an incredible boom in its retail sector with many exciting and pioneering shopping developments being created to inspire visitors. Dubai’s world-class shopping malls and trailblazing projects such as the Dubai Mall showcase how people have come to expect the best from the emirate. And, with all prices tax-free Dubai is well and truly setting itself apart from other holiday hotspots.
“Combined with the ever expanding and exciting new retail developments, such as the world’s first fashion island Isla Moda, new malls such as the Mall of Arabia which will be part of the City of Arabia in the Dubailand theme park, and Dubai Festival City which will comprise over 600 shops including 25 flagship stores, the emirate continues to fuel the ever-increasing demand, with its phenomenal growth on track to welcoming 15 million visitors by 2015.”