Russian shoppers stayed away from the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) this year due to the ongoing economic crisis and falling ruble in Russia.The DSF, being held this year from January 1 to February 1, contributes over US$1 billion ($1.3 billion) of retail sales to the emirate's economy and Russian shoppers have always been among the biggest spenders, along with Saudi Arabians and Americans.
This year, however, more Russians have stayed home. Russian travel operators in Dubai reported a sharp drop in the number of tours booked to the emirate compared with the same time last year, one by as much as 80 percent.
A Russian tourist in Dubai, said he was only able to afford the trip because he paid for his travel two months in advance. "We had to cut down on shopping because the prices are much higher now in rouble terms," he said.
"The cut in spending by Russians will not be a show stopper for the Dubai Shopping Festival because so many more people, including the local residents, are spending," said David Macadam, CEO of the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres.