More than 4.5 million tourists from Saudi Arabia are expected to visit the 20th annual Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) in 2015, representing an increase of between five and eight per cent compared to this year's event, according to the organisers.
Saudi Arabia is one of Dubai's key tourism markets, with figures from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing revealing that 1.33 million visitors from the country made their way to the emirate in 2013.
At a press conference held on Saturday (December 13th), Saeed Al-Falasi, director of Strategic Alliances Division, the organisers of the DSF, welcomed GCC citizens to the event, Saudis in particular.
He said: "The shopping festival will end on February 1st and will be followed by the food festival which gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy two different festivals at one go."
The press conference is part of a promotional tour that is being undertaken by the event's organisers in the GCC. Laila Suhail, chief executive of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishments, believes that Gulf countries have always been an important market for the emirate.
"GCC countries have the most number of visitors coming to Dubai," Ms Suhail remarked.
She explained that the DSF has changed significantly over the past 20 years, adding entertainment activities and events to enrich a visitor's experience of the festival.
Next year's extravaganza will see famous Arab artists hold live concerts during the month. Other planned extra include theatre performances, circuses, fireworks, as well as jewellery and fashion shows.
Mr Al-Falasi has revealed that visitors will have the chance to win big prizes during the DSF, including 100kg of gold and 45 carats of diamonds! Two Infinity cars and AED100,000 (£17,374) in cash are also up for grabs.
According to the organisers, the 2015 DSF, which will run between January 1st and February 1st, is a celebration of Dubai's journey towards excellence and its transition to one of the world's top shopping destinations.