With the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) scheduled to be held from January 3, different airlines and travel agencies have begun making special offers to Mumbaikars for visiting the "shopping Mecca."
According to an estimate, of the seven to eight lakh Indians who visit Dubai every year, more than a lakh of them go there during this festival alone.
People familiar with the tourism industry claim that about 25% of the shoppers who visit the mega event avail of early-bird discounts every year and book their accommodation.
"DSF is one of the most anticipated events for shoppers. Most of these people make their bookings in advance," says Mayur Shah, the proprietor of an Andheri-based travel agency, Shah Travels.
Travel agents are offering tour packages which include travelling, accommodation, visa formalities, airport transfers and sight seeing.
"Indians are a price conscious lot. Advance bookings help them get a good bargain on travelling and accommodation," says Iqbal Mulla, president of Travel Agents Association of India.
Jet Airways has launched a special offer for those travelling to Dubai from Mumbai. Other airlines like Air India , Spicejet, Emirates are reportedly planning to launch similar offers in the next few days, industry insiders reveal.
According to the organisers, DSF will have more than 70 malls in and around the city taking part in it, offering customers heavy discounts, bargains and prizes. DSF, which has been showcased for 17 years, will also host music concerts, film festivals, street plays, fireworks shows and sporting events.
Such is its popularity that in 2011, more than 42 million visitors from across the world spent nearly 27 billion US dollars.