Dubai launches 24th DSS shopping festival to attract summer markets

Dubai launches 24th DSS shopping festival to attract summer markets

Enticing visitors in high climates is a challenge Dubai tackles with more than just retail therapy

Dubai Tourism will launch the 24th edition of Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) on 1 July 2021. The multi-venue retail and entertainment promotion will run until 4 September 2021 and will include a jam-packed programme of events designed to attract tourists to Dubai during the summer months.

The key markets that Dubai Tourism is targeting are domestic, with UAE residents topping the list, followed by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt. Secondary summer markets span the UK, Ireland and various destinations in Europe, plus Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Kenya.

The indoor extravaganza aims to overcome the season’s challengingly hot temperatures and make Dubai a year-round destination and global shopping hub – but activities aren’t limited to shopping. The programme is curated to showcase Dubai’s hotels, restaurants and entertainment, as well as its sprawling retail sector.

Organised by Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), a division of Dubai Tourism, DSS events in 2021 include sales, prize draws, hotel discounts, fitness classes, theatre shows and performances, and the new ‘Summer Restaurant Week’.

Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), said: “This year, DSS takes on even greater importance as it caters to residents who are opting to enjoy a staycation rather than a vacation abroad. With this in mind, the DSS calendar has been carefully crafted to appeal to people who call the city home while also wowing visitors from around the world.

“With this year shaping up to be extra special for the UAE, as Dubai will be hosting Expo 2020 from October and the nation proudly celebrating its Golden Jubilee on 2 December, DSS kick-starts not only a summer of superb promotions and world-class events but will also serve as the launchpad for accelerated growth in Dubai’s tourism sector in 2021 and beyond. With so much to show and offer this summer, we’re truly delighted to once again welcome the world to Dubai during DSS.”


Tourism boards around the world can look to Dubai for inspiration when it comes to incentivising visitors. For the 2021 DSS programme, it has galvanised vast numbers of stakeholders into taking part in a multitude of special events and activations. Despite a global pandemic and off-peak season temperatures, authorities are optimistic as hotel occupancy in the Middle East continues to show signs of recovery.

DSS events and activations include:

Projection Shows: The opening celebrations for this year’s Dubai Summer Surprises will include projection shows on 1 July at two of the city’s best-loved landmarks: the IMAGINE show at Dubai Festival City Mall at 7.55pm and The Dubai Fountains at The Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa at 8pm. Anyone wishing to physically attend the DSS opening events must present proof of vaccination to book into one of the restaurants facing the fountains or visit either location.

Retail Sales: The 12 Hour Sale will help kick-start DSS on 1 July with savings of up to 90 per cent off from 10am to 10pm at Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Mirdif, City Centre Deira, City Centre Me‘aisem, City Centre Al Barsha and City Centre Al Shindagha. The rest of the DSS Summer Sale will see more than 500 brands and 3,500 outlets offering discounts of between 25% and 75%.

Prize Draws: As an added incentive, shoppers will be able to enter multiple prize draws. One draw gives shoppers the chance to win one million SHARE points and become the 12 Hour Sale SHARE Millionaire. To take part, Majid Al Futtaim SHARE rewards members need to scan their receipts of a minimum of AED300 using the SHARE application to automatically be entered into the draw. On 4 July a winner will be drawn to win one million SHARE points.

DSS shoppers can win a brand new 2021 Mercedes C200 and AED25,000 in cash with a super summer-long promotion. The DSS Mercedes Mega Raffle is open to residents and visitors who buy a special coupon at ENOC and EPPCO petrol stations, ZOOM stores and stands in malls and other venues for AED150. The raffle is also available online at, and people purchasing an ‘Idealz Tee II’ for AED150 will receive a complimentary coupon. The DSS Mercedes Mega Raffle will be held throughout the summer until 25 September 2021.

Animated Characters: Expect appearances by popular animated characters across Dubai’s malls and shopping districts. At the start of DSS, City Walk will host The Smurfs. Until 17 July, the venue’s courtyard will be transformed into a Smurf-themed wonderland with activities and games for families. Open Sunday to Thursday from 2pm to 10pm and Friday and Saturday from 10am to 10pm, activities include a Smurf House, Smurfette’s beauty corner, a Smurfs soccer field and daily ‘meet and greet’ sessions.

From 8 July until 28 August, Modesh World will once again welcome kids of all ages to explore a great selection of adventurous rides, games and edutainment activities alongside Dubai Tourism-created characters, Modesh and Dana. The family-themed pop-up experience will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre’s Sheikh Saeed Halls 1, 2, 3 and The Arena. Modesh and Dana will also be making appearances throughout the emirate’s malls.

Summer Restaurant Week: This DSS will see the launch of Summer Restaurant Week, with special breakfast, lunch and dinner family deals at reduced prices. Held from 11 to 21 August, Summer Restaurant Week will encourage residents and visitors to enjoy breakfast for AED69 for adults and AED25 for kids, two-course lunch menus at AED95 for adults and AED35 for kids and three-course dinners priced AED150 for adults and AED35 for kids.

The Big Eid Eat: From 20 to 21 July, The Big Eid Eat will feature special Eid dining events, menus, brunches and promotions at restaurants across the city. Diners at any of the Big Eid Eat venues will also have a chance to win AED20,000 in shopping vouchers.

Fitness Events: Proving that the 24th edition of DSS is about more than shopping, this year there’ll be a range of fun fitness events to help everyone stay active during the stifling summer. Available daily from 5pm to 12am for just AED99, the Aventura Summer Nights promotion gives visitors access to the park’s 24 tree surfing ziplines, six rope climbing circuits and 80 obstacles in the cooler evening hours. Residents and visitors can also join Inspire Yoga Pilates and Fitness for daily sessions at its Al Manara and DIFC venues for the 30 classes in 30 days promotion, priced at AED900. The offer is available until 4 September and advance booking is required.

Entertainment Deals: Theatre will also take centre-stage during DSS, with special shows and discounts offered throughout the festival. La Perle, the epic acrobatics show that combines dramatic stunts with thrilling music, will give UAE residents 20 per cent off the price of a ticket and groups of four guests will receive 25 per cent off as part of a friends and family deal. Also, during DSS, kids under 12 can enjoy free access to the Al Habtoor City-based show when accompanied by a paying adult.

Taking place 1 to 2 July, Regional Palette is a multi-language theatre festival being held in Dubai for the first time. Featuring short plays in four different Indian languages – Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali and Malayalam – the event will highlight and promote cultural diversity during its two nights of shows at The Theatre at Mall of the Emirates.

The Laughter Factory, Dubai Opera and Coca-Cola Arena will also host summer shows, and there’ll be free in-mall performances by traditional dancers from Russia, India, Spain, Mexico, Lebanon, Morocco, Africa and Brazil.

Hotel Offers: Some of Dubai’s best hotels and resorts are offering deals on stays. For example, book a room at the Armani Hotel Dubai or the Address Sky View hotel during DSS and guests will receive free access to Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, VR Park and At The Top at Burj Khalifa.

The DSS deal from Habtoor Grand Resort in Dubai Marina includes an exclusive family offer of 50 per cent off the price of a second room, free breakfast, half-price spa treatments and tickets to La Perle for two adults and two children.

Palazzo Versace Dubai will offer a seven-night stay in a Grand Suite with free breakfast for two adults and two children below 12, hotel credit to be used at selected F&B and spa outlets, access to the Executive Lounge and complimentary tickets for two adults and two children to Laguna Waterpark, Dubai Parks and Resorts and La Perle once during their stay.

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