Joburg Shopping Festival follows in the foot steps of the Dubai Shopping Festival @JSF_SA

Joburg Shopping Festival follows in the foot steps of the Dubai Shopping Festival @JSF_SA

Johannesburg Shopping Festival
Joburg Shopping Festival is just around the corner and we thought we’d share some insight on the event that inspired our vision, the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF). Our partner, Visa has been a visionary pioneer and has always played a significant role in making events of this magnitude possible. Karim Beg, Head of Marketing, Middle East & North Africa for Visa, based in Dubai, allowed us the opportunity to ask a few questions concerning Dubai Shopping Festival.

Joburg Shopping Festival:
How did DSF begin?

Karim Beg:
Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) began in 1996 as an initiative of the Dubai government to promote trade in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It has since been promoted as a tourist attraction. This festival is a month long event in which all government departments and private companies join hands to ensure its success. DSF includes shopping discounts on everything from cars, electronics and computers to fashion, jewellery and perfumes, entertainment events, and daily car and gold raffles.

Joburg Shopping Festival:
How many people visit Dubai to attend DSF?

Karim Beg:
Between four and five million people visit the DSF and it’s growing between 8% and 9% annually. Another interesting factor to mention is that sales are also growing by same rate and Visa card transactions are growing at about 15%.

Joburg Shopping Festival:
How has Visa played a role to the success of DSF?

Karim Beg:
As the official payment partner of DSF since its inauguration in 1996, Visa has utilized the event as a platform to educate shoppers about the convenience and security of electronic payments while simultaneously rewarding them with value-added prizes. The impressive levels we’ve seen year after year of international spending and Visa card usage reflects the growing confidence in both Dubai and UAE as a tourism hub, and a significant increase in shoppers recognizing the convenience and security of using their Visa cards for retail purchases during the shopping festival.

Joburg Shopping Festival:
What was the value of transactions processed on Visa cards at the Festival?

Karim Beg:
According to statistics issued by Visa, international visitors to the UAE spent over US$578 million on their Visa cards during the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) 2014, compared to US$500 million in DSF 2013, representing a 15 per cent year-on-year growth. The results collected by the company’s Visa Vue® Travel data service also showed that 1.9 million Visa cards were used for 9.8 million transactions in the UAE between 2 January and 2 February 2014, an increase of 14% and 23%, respectively, over the prior year.

Joburg Shopping Festival:
What has been the team’s greatest achievement since the inception of the Dubai Shopping Festival?

Karim Beg:
Definitely the Big Box Campaign!
In 2013 we introduced the Visa’s Big Box promotion, which offered consumers unique opportunities and multiple chances to win an exciting range of prizes. This was the biggest-ever campaign. We have included a secret grand prize within the Big Box at The Dubai Mall with shoppers being invited to guess as to what was on offer throughout DSF. Every transaction worth at least AED 200 with any Visa card also entitled consumers entry into the main prize draw for a chance to win the hidden grand prize which was a round trip to the festivals of the world.

Joburg Shopping Festival:
What has been the biggest challenge for the team to date?

Karim Beg:
How to break through the clutter as a Visa sponsor. DSF has become a commercialised event and there is a lot of activity. It is such a well-known event and merchants want to get on board, however merchant discounts at times have not been exceptional at drawing international tourist’s to the festival.

Joburg Shopping Festival:
The Dubai Shopping Festival has a 20 year history, why has it been so successful?

Karim Beg:
The culmination of a number of things and the ancillary activities to shopping. Dubai is a regional hub, many regional airlines travel through Dubai. Retailer discounts were a major draw card to drive trade originally but over the years, entertainment has become key and a number of tourist attractions are also on the schedule – over the 32 days.

The idea for a shopping festival in itself was an inspiration from the great Singapore Sale, an annual retail event organised by the Singapore Retailers Association. Although the plan was to conduct a city-wide event to boost the retail sector for that particular year but its success established it as a permanent event. After announcing the event in 1995, the government launched a city wide campaign inviting people to submit ideas and turn them into actions, they also invited all private sector to be part of the event along with the government entities. So the engagement of almost everyone at that time made the DSF a big success and encouraged the government to take it to the next level by creating a month-long shopping and entertainment extravaganza. The inaugural DSF attracted 1.6 million visitors and drove the growth of sectors such as hospitality and tourism, which were and still key contributors to the city’s economy.

Joburg Shopping Festival:
What has the impact been on Visa’s stakeholders in Dubai?

Karim Beg:
Working with government to drive Dubai to the world as a tourism destination, supporting the objective of 20 million visitors to Dubai by 2020!

Joburg Shopping Festival:
What can an event like this do locally?

Karim Beg:
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Visa works closely with tourism partners to promote card acceptance to tourists, industry stakeholders and businesses to provide travelers with a form of exchange that is ubiquitous, secure, reliable and globally accepted. We are committed to supporting tourism as key driver of economic development and wealth creation, working with governments and tourism boards to streamline revenue collection and encourage incremental tourism spend. Tourism is a catalyst for economic growth and development in South Africa. In 2011, 6.2 million visitors from the rest of Africa spent R19.7 billion shopping for personal use and R18.5 billion on goods for resale (South African tourism report, 2011). As South Africa is seen as the shopping destination of choice in Sub-Saharan Africa, and with Sub-Saharan Africa being a key source of inbound travel=C it makes sense to build a property here that is aligned to Government’s overall tourism strategy.

Foe more informations: joburgshoppingfestival.co.za

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