Known for its luxury brands and super sized malls, Dubai is a shoppers dream. But there is so much more on offer with new commercial hubs like City Walk and the Outlet Village Dubai proving there's something for all budgets.
"I think you have to go back to historical facts. Trade and commerce have always been part of the history of Dubai and of the U.A.E. It's a pivotal place within the region and later on its development around the globe....Dubai has always been at the cutting edge of retail innovation in many ways, today impacted by technology, so we are the epicentre of it."
Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne is CEO of Emaar Malls.
Dubai’s retail sector is one of the largest contributors to the Emirate's economy, representing around 27 percent of gross domestic product.
"I think you have two key drivers of the Dubai economy, retail and tourism, and I think one cannot be separated, it’s so synergistic, with basically the two of them. Retail is contributing about $28 billion to the economy and tourism - tourism at large - is about 30 percent of the G.D.P. So the two essential drivers of the local economy really work in tandem to create a very unique proposition that very few countries actually offer," Bousquet-Chavanne says.
The 24th edition of The Dubai Shopping Festival is currently taking place. The city attracted over 14 million people last year who spent billions of euros.
"The shopping festival itself, I mean it's built on the contribution of the retail industry. All the retailers interested contribute. We have sponsors that were our partners for the last 24 years. If it says anything, it says about their relationship and the support that we get from this industry and what we give back to that industry."
Suhaila Ghubash, Director, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment.
Away from the big shopping malls and outlet villages, it is places like the, “Souq Naif”, that offer visitors a more authentic shopping experience. With its colourful wears, textiles and jewellery, it's a haggler's perfect opportunity to bag a bargain.
"You can negotiate prices. The selection is much better and the whole experience, the whole air, it's all Dubai, so even the architecture around you makes the experience more local," one woman said.
And the Middle East and far east also collide at Dubai's Dragon Mart, the only Chinese mall of its kind in the region
"We always challenge ourselves to be number one. That's a challenge from the leadership, so we try and we strive to be at that position. We look at the experience of other cities and we build from that and I think that's why we have variety of retail which is suitable for everyone, whether it was you know high-end luxury, to the souks, to you know the outlets," says Suhaila Ghubash.
There's one common denominator for all Dubai shopping destinations; the guarantee of an experience. With its multi range of districts the retail industry in Dubai has shown it can sustain growth and is a major global player in the sector. With international guest numbers up year on year there's no shortage of visitors coming to shop.