Banking on the success of last year's attendance that saw thousands of visitors flock to the venue, organisers of the Al Marmoom Heritage Village are preparing to welcome residents and tourists from March 20 to April 18 this year. The Village, organised in collaboration with Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, is considered a one-stop shop for everything relating to UAE heritage, and a main attraction of the Al Marmoom Camel Race Festival that takes place in April, one of GCC's sporting highlights of the year.
Camel racing is an integral part of the khaleeji culture and there has been a significant increase in the number of tourists to the races. The Heritage Village was set up for visitors to explore the Emirati way of life through handicrafts, cuisine, mock weddings, and music. This year, around a hundred small shops and kiosks are being organised to recreate a carnival like setting. The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority has also finalised plans to present numerous events and activities depicting the Emarati way of life.
Abdullah Faraj, Member of the Supreme Committee and Head of Marketing and Events at Al Marmoom Camel Race Festival, says the Festival has been witnessing a steady growth of visitors over the past couple of years. "The experience at Al Marmoom Heritage Festival is enriching because visitors get a first hand account of Emarati culture through sport, cuisine, music, and various events. It's a window that allows visitors to have a broader cultural experience. We aim to enhance that experience through our retail offerings across a hundred kiosks. Dubai is a multicultural city and we are hoping to attract all nationalities by creating a festive atmosphere, and we are very grateful for our partners at Dubai Culture for preparing a rich and diverse programme of events for this year."
"The concept of markets is extremely popular among Dubai's residents and we've incorporated numerous new elements to make the experience enjoyable. As organisers, we took in feedback from visitors and participating retailers of previous editions to ensure that each element of the markets is enhanced to meet the expectations of all audiences," added Faraj.
Retailers are also looking forward to the Festival as the month-long markets mean increased footfall and sales. Al Faraj says the aim this year is to make the kiosks available to all retailers thereby creating more choices for shoppers. This way, he adds, retailers are in a better position to offer a diverse range of products to visitors and tourists. Kiosks of sizes 2x2 metres and 3x3 metres are currently available to retailers that are interested in being part of the Festival.
Ali khalil, a retailer at the Village in 2016, offered visitors various unique UAE heritage and cultural artifacts that drew a lot of interest from tourists attending the camel race. “Visitors were genuinely interested in learning more about UAE culture. They asked many questions about the artifacts that I had on display, " said Khalil. “I have been participating at the Village for many years now, and I have witnessed a steady and notable increase of visitors. It's good for business and I think 2017 will be a good year too."
Intriguingly, Mohammad Al Murrar, another retailer, offered an out-of-place product through his shop in the 2016 edition , yet he was quite pleased with the experience. “Yes, selling solar products in a heritage ambience did seem a bit odd for some visitors," he said. “But with UAE heavily supporting clean energy, I started my own business of products that produce electricity from harvesting solar power, and saw an opportunity at Al Marmoom Village to showcase it to thousands of visitors. The response was really good and I made good profits."
Al Marmoom Heritage Village will be open to public from 20th March to 18th of April, and will complement the festive celebrations across Al Marmoom during the annual camel race. More information about the events, attractions, and the races can be found on www.almarmoomhfestival.ae