Eyad Al-Kourdi, vice president and country manager, Southern Gulf â€“ Oman, Qatar and UAE, MasterCard Worldwide has said that DSS has contributed significantly to the travel, retail and hospitality sectors in the UAE. His comments came during an interview with the Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment where he outlined MasterCardâ€™s role as a key sponsor of Dubai Summer Surprises 2010.
MasterCard has stepped up again this year to support Dubai Summer Surprises as it had in the past 10 years. What were the reasons behind this decision?
DSS provided yet another opportunity for MasterCard to work closely with our customer financial institutions and merchants to stimulate business across a range of diverse sectors in the UAE and to deliver rewarding privileges and experiences to our cardholders visiting or living in the country.
MasterCard is committed to contribute towards the growth of the UAE economy and our support for DSS for eleven consecutive years attests to this long term and strategic commitment. Over the years, DSS has turned into a leading summer attraction for retailers and consumers alike. The event contributes significantly to the travel, retail and hospitality sectors in the UAE, by attracting residents as well as visitors from across the region through a variety of exciting programs. These developments are very much in line with MasterCardâ€™s mission to drive commerce and to fuel economic connections and this is why we continued to be a key sponsor and official payment card of DSS for over a decade.
How do you think this cooperation has benefited you?
Our synergistic relationship with DSS benefits us in the sense that it allows us to further facilitate our mission to drive economic connections globally and, in this case, in the UAE. For our local customer financial institutions and merchants, our support of DSS provides further validation that MasterCard supports a compelling retail platform that stimulates their businesses.
DSS is also a great opportunity for us to continue to deliver real value to our cardholders, ranging from the security and convenience of MasterCardâ€™s payment solutions to a variety of exclusive rewards and privileges customized for DSS. By providing these priceless experiences we are once again able to demonstrate to our cardholders the unique benefits of holding a MasterCard credit or debit card.
In your opinion, and as an active partner of DSS, to what extent can festivals such as DSS impact the local economy?
There is no doubt that festivals such as DSS have a very positive impact on the local economy as they attract shoppers and holiday makers from around the world. The most recent MasterCard Worldwide Survey of Consumer Confidence shows that consumers in the UAE continue to be optimistic and exciting events such as DSS definitely add to this sense of optimism. Dubai has always been a trading hub and the tourists that head towards Dubai in the summer to benefit from DSS certainly add to its growing reputation as a leading travel and commercial hub in the world.
We know that MasterCard closely monitors consumer behavioral habits, and this has become very important in the past few years. Can you share with us the latest findings of your researches?
According to the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence Survey that was released recently, consumers in the UAE are approaching the next six months with optimism. The current UAE consumer confidence score (82.4) is still high and a significant improvement from a year ago (29.6). Released twice a year, the Index is based on a survey which measures consumer confidence on prevailing expectations in the market for the next six months based on five economic indicators: Economy, Employment, Stock Market, Regular Income and Quality of Life. The Index score is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral.