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Source: Khaleej Times
The UAE boasts more than two million square metres of shopping area, scoring over all other countries in the region, according to a regional shopping industry expert.
UAE malls have set high standards and created a unique culture that is being followed by other malls in the GCC and Levant region, according to Bawadi Mall senior marketing manager Khalid Shraim. This culture revolves around offering “edutainment” to mall visitors rather than mere shopping service, Sharaim added.
He said UAE malls have become leading tourism destinations for tourists.
“Most tourists ask for malls, having Googled the popular malls in their home countries or having been referred to by friends and relatives. They enjoy our malls because of the unique ambience and plenty of activities we line up for them,” he added.
He added that nine per cent of Bawadi Mall visitors are tourists coming from Oman, other GCC countries and beyond.
Shraim said that retail, shopping and tourism industries in the UAE are inter-related and inter-dependent, and these sectors are growing faster than others in the Middle East and North Africa region, thanks to the a distinctive shopping culture and purchasing power of the Gulf consumers as well as tourists coming to the UAE from different parts of the world and the government’s continuous support to these sectors.
He added that the UAE has pioneered innovative practices in the shopping industry that other parts of the world are emulating, such as festivals, outreach campaigns, competitions, and cultural gatherings. “International brands are looking at the UAE market as a focal point to reach out to the entire Middle East region. Hugh investments, franchises, tie ups and other kinds of partnerships are taking place in the country that hosts a significant amount of tourists from all parts of the world,” Shraim added.
Talking about UAE visitors to malls, Shraim added: “We believe that all the seven emirates have their own unique traits. In Al Ain city for example, we receive a remarkable number of UAE nationals and residents coming from Abu Dhabi and other parts of the UAE throughout the week.”
“Most UAE malls launch series of activities throughout the year that appeal to everyone. These activities contribute to attracting visitors from all over the world and the UAE malls provide customised shopping experience to visitors.”