Visitation Programme takes DSF experience to the region



Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) attracts millions of tourists each year, yet a pioneering and ongoing initiative is helping spread the festive mood and celebrations of the annual shopping festival to millions more across the region.

Through its Media Visitation Programme, where DSF invites leading journalists from across the GCC countries and other key feeder markets from the Arab world, DSF has given families across the region a chance to experience the festivities as told by participating journalists. “This has been a key element of our success from the very start – spread the joy and festive mood of the festival in particular and promote Dubai as a leading tourism destination in general to families from across the region, enough to excite them and make the DSF their next holiday destination,” said Laila Suhail, CEO, Dubai Events and Promotions Establishments (DEPE), organisers of the leading shopping, leisure and entertainment event in the region.

Suhail noted that DSF was one of the first to conduct familiarisation trips for the media in the region. And the effort has borne tremendous fruits, with GCC tourists arriving for the annual shopping festival increasing in number annually. “We invited the leading journalists to come and experience the excitement and exhilaration first-hand. The results have been extremely positive, and have generated not only substantial publicity mileage for Dubai and DSF, but also more than enough appeal to entice hundreds of thousands of tourists from around region to come every year.” Suhail added.

This year, DEPE invited 34 leading lifestyle and business journalists from across the Middle East to Dubai to experience the thrills and excitement of the 15th edition of DSF. Among those invited were media professionals from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman; as well as Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt.

As a media relations tool, the Media Visitation Programme has also succeeded in generating tremendous goodwill on behalf of Dubai and DSF among the top journalists in the region. “The support that we get from our media partners has been overwhelming, no doubt a result of the excellent relations we have built through the years. And because we invite only the best journalists, they know what they are doing and can spot story opportunities, they have been able to generate a multitude of stories that re-create the joys and merriment of the festival in their respective home countries,” she continued.

In addition, DEPE has been able to leverage the programme to benefit its sponsors, ensuring a wide, regional reach and branding opportunities for its key supporters every year.

While in Dubai, the journalists will be attending several key important events they will also visit different shopping malls to experience the excitement that is palpable across the city during the festival. According to Suhail, “They will be witnessing the events and entertainment activities up close and personal; they will be able to talk to shoppers who hop from one mall or souk to another in search of the best bargains; they will get a taste and feel for the warm and generous hospitality of the Emarati people.”


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