By Andy Sambidge
Electronic payments giant says spending at Dubai Shopping Festival 2011 hit more than $406m
The value of overseas spending at this year's Dubai Shopping Festival reached more than $400m, a 37 percent increase on the previous festival, Visa has revealed.
The electronic payments giant said the total amount spent on internationally-issued Visa cards in the UAE came to just over $406m throughout the duration of the DSF, compared to $297m for the same period last year.
Department stores benefited the most from this increase, Visa said, recording a 57 percent growth in spending over 2010, at $13.7m.
Retail outlets came out tops in the merchant category, with a total of $133.4m, up 49 percent from last year.
Accommodation (hotels and apartments) reported a 25 percent increase, at $90.6m; while travel and entertainment also featured highly, with a total spend of just over $29m, up 40 percent from last year.
The United Kingdom was the top spending country, with visitors spending a total of $44.5m through the duration of the DSF.
China followed close behind at almost $42m, up 109 percent from previous years; while Saudi Arabia reported a total spend of $39.4m, up 83 percent over last year.
Sunday February 13 recorded the highest spend by international Visa cardholders, raking in $17.2m in sales on that one day alone.
On average, international visitors spent $13.1m every day during the DSF period, Visa added.
Maysara Ghadban Traboulsi, Visa's head of Marketing Communications for MENA, said: "Visitors from all over the world come to Dubai to take advantage of the great promotions on offer, and these results are testament to the ongoing popularity of the shopping festival."
All unverified talk to pep up the market, guess the government is sponsoring VISA.