MANY Zimbabweans have joined the shopping bandwagon to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, which has become the shopping destination of choice, according to a survey held by Maktoob Research.
Report by Jairos Saunyama, Own Correspondent
Night shopping in Dubai has become a game changer, bringing a new dimension of excitement to shopping.
Theodore Kundeya, a Zimbabwean teacher who travels to Dubai four times a month, said night shopping attracts a lot of people.
“I have been travelling to Dubai for the past eight years, but the magic happens when the day falls. This is the time when most shoppers do their shopping in Dubai,” he said.
There is so much hype in Dubai during the night, he added.
“You can enjoy the beautiful atmosphere, millions of colourful lights and decorations, fashion and good food, which are not available during daytime. It’s just like walking in paradise,” he said.
Some shops will have different shopping centre hours, for example supermarkets may open at 8am or 9am to midnight. Fridays can be confusing with some shops only opening at 4pm in the afternoon, while others open from 6pm.
As a general rule, shops are open 10am-10pm on Saturday to Thursday, 2pm or 4pm to 10pm or 12 midnight on Fridays and some of the larger shopping centres open late on Thursday-Saturday (from 10am-12 midnight).
Busy times are Friday afternoons and evenings (because almost everyone is off on Friday) and Thursday evenings.
Hostile weather conditions in Dubai have contributed to the night shopping phenomenon, as it is cooler during the night.
During the day, temperatures go as high as 40 degrees celsius.
Because of intense heat, most workers do their work for six hours only before taking a break.
In January, hundreds of Zimbabweans flocked to the United Arab Emirates to attend the month-long Dubai Shopping Festival 2012 where shoppers enjoyed price discounts and colourful events throughout the festival.
Martha Savanhu, who attended the festival, said it was fascinating to shop at that time because prices had hit rock bottom.
“Since it was my first time to attend the festival, I was shocked by the multitudes in attendance. The atmosphere was electric. We did our shopping starting from around 8pm till 2am,” she said. “And with December fast approaching it’s going to be marvellous.”
Apart from late night shopping, visitors are also being attracted to a number of facilities like tax-free shopping.
Merchants are permitted to import products from other countries with very little or no custom duties.
Retailers offer up to 75% discount on a range of items, including jewellery, watches, electronics, carpets, textiles, perfumes and handicrafts.