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The Business of Winning With Dubai Shopping Festival

With more than AED30 million being given away in prizes in January alone during the 27th edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival, the world’s longest-running retail festival with winning at its core, we speak to the man who’s seen it all - Abdulla Al Ameeri, Director of Raffles and Promotions at Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE).

The Business of Winning With Dubai Shopping Festival

When a young Abdulla Al Ameeri started his career with Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), as coordinator selling tickets from a kiosk in Deira's Rigga Street in 1999, little did he know that decades later he would become the face of DSF Raffles.

Now, as the Director of Raffles and Promotions at DFRE, he is the man who gets on stage every night during DSF, and throughout the rest of Dubai's retail calendar year, to change people’s lives.

“When I first started out, the DSF raffle draws were held in the Dubai TV studios, and it was actually my suggestion to change the set-up and make it a huge live stage event,” said Al Ameeri. “And in the summer of 2000, I was given the go-ahead and went live for the first time during Dubai Summer Surprises at Modesh World.”

Taking the stage in front of almost 600 people, it was at that moment the skyrocketing future of Dubai Raffles was born. And ever since that summer evening in 2000, Al Ameeri has been the man to announce the winners of truly life-changing prizes, awarded year-round as part of DFRE’s raffles calendar that sees more than 1,000 raffle promotions take place annually, changing the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

“Honestly, the best part of my job is being part of a team that really does change people’s lives,” he said. “I remember all of the stories of the people who win, and the prizes do have a real impact.” From lifting people out of debilitating debt to securing the future of entire families, Al Ameeri has seen it all. “It is a joy to be a part of people’s happiness,” he said. “It’s an indescribable feeling.”

A Huge Operation

In the month of January alone, during the 27th edition of DSF, a total of more than AED 30 million worth of prizes will have been awarded to citizens, residents, and visitors of Dubai. And although Al Ameeri may be the face of Dubai’s incredible raffle giveaways, he is part of a mammoth team that makes the whole thing possible.

“There is a huge operation and mechanism behind the raffles that nobody sees,” he said. “A team of roughly 800 people work very hard to run Dubai’s raffles operation, controlling tickets, coupons, selections, sales and so much more – it really is a significant undertaking.”

And so, when Al Ameeri takes to the stage every night at 9 pm during DSF at Global Village, he has been briefed, and debriefed, by the team with hourly reports throughout the day.

One Team One Dream

However, the incredible life-changing raffles would not be possible without the support of the raffle partners who provide the prizes. Be they mega cash prizes from the Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG) or Idealz; or vehicles and luxury items from Infiniti, Nissan or Madinat Jumeirah Living; or gold and jewellery from the Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group (DGJG); or incredible travel prizes from Emirates Airline or Dubai Duty-Free.

Because in Dubai’s