- Executive Marketing Director particularly excited about art shop set up by a Pakistani man who has a PhD in physics
DUBAI: One of Dubai’s biggest tourist attractions, Global Village, returned last month for its 27th season with over 200 restaurants, 3,500 shops and the newly-built House of Fear.
Back for another year is the Pakistan Pavilion, as well.
“This year’s facade is beautiful. It’s very, very colourful. It was inspired by the Lahore Fort but they’ve added beautifully coloured windows, and each window has a pattern representing the country’s provinces,” Executive Marketing Director Jaki Ellenby told Business Recorder in an exclusive interview.
There are numerous shops inside the pavilion, some featuring crafts that are a dying art in the country, she said.
“We’ve got women weaving carpets. We also have shoe makers pounding leather and making these beautiful Pakistani shoes and slippers.”
Ellenby is particularly excited about an art shop set up by a Pakistani man who has a PhD in physics and pursues art as a hobby. He was convinced by his son, a Dubai resident, to use Global Village to showcase his talent.
But perhaps what she’s most excited about is Bundoo Khan.
“Bundoo Khan has been coming to Global Village since the beginning. It’s one of the favourites of all the staff here. In fact, it’s become a bit of a tradition on the first night for all the staff to go there.”
Other than Pakistan, there are 26 pavilions of various countries, with Qatar and Oman being new additions.
In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, Global Village saw 4.5 million visitors. Last year it had its record season, with 7.8 million visitors. This year, organisers hope to beat that number.
“We’ve been doing really well (so far). It’s been super popular. We had a record opening day, so I think people have been very happy,” said Ellenby.
“Of course, we don’t have Expo this year, but we’ve seen an uplift, certainly in the numbers, so who knows where we’ll end up. The most important thing for us is that we have happy guests rather than numerous guests.”
Along with thousands of shopping outlets hundreds of restaurants, cafes, and street food options, Global Village offers 40,000 shows as well.
“To give you an idea, we have about 400 different artists from around the world between our main stage, our kids theatre, and of course, all the beautiful cultural shows that are in each of the pavilions,” Ellenby said.
Entry ticket prices for Global Village start at Dh18 and the current season will run until April 29, 2023.
An incubator for businesses:
Talking about the impact Global Village has on Dubai’s status as a global hub for business, Ellenby said, “We are a very well-known tourist destination in the region. But what is less well-known about Global Village is we’re also a business partner and we serve as an incubator for many, many businesses.”
“We’re a very good place to come and launch a business, to pilot a new concept in the region, whether that be food and beverage or products,” she said.
“There are many examples, Bundoo Khan being one of them, of people coming to Dubai, setting up at Global Village to see if the product works, and becoming a household name across the country and region.”
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022