Dubai Airport Duty Free
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Dubai Airport Duty Free

Duty Free Shopping At Dubai International Airport

Dubai frequently features at or near the top of lists of must-visit destinations for tourists, and if you ever get the chance to explore this bustling metropolis on the Persian Gulf you’ll quickly see why. With a population of more than 3 million people, the city has developed one of the premier tourism industries in the world with the highest quality of hotels, restaurants and activities.

The city is the largest in the United Arab Emirates, and getting there is simple thanks to the excellent connections available through Dubai International Airport, also known by its airport code DXB. Here you’ll find direct flights to many destinations around the world, but it’s also easy to find your way to Dubai by making multiple-stop journeys on the way.

Whether you’re just arriving at the airport to start your holiday or there to get your flight home, you’ll be amazed at the sheer size and the facilities on offer, including a huge range of shops to peruse selling clothes, electronics, books, souvenirs and much more. The airport has three main terminals and you will find dozens of retailers located within each one.

Although there are many stores in all of the terminals, Terminal 3 has the largest collection of duty free shopping options. Expect many of the shops to be busy, because more than 160 million passengers travel through Dubai International Airport every year.

Indeed, shopping is considered to be one of the biggest attractions at Dubai International Airport because of the Dubai Duty Free, which is the name under which all the shops operate on a no-tax basis. This means the goods you can buy at the airport will be significantly cheaper than you would find if you tried to buy them online or at a regular high street shop.

Dubai Airport Duty Free has been in operation for more than 35 years and in 2018 alone it generated more than $2 billion in sales, making it perhaps the most popular airport shopping destination in the world. And you can explore the shops no matter what time your flight lands or departs because all of the retailers are open 24 hours a day, every day of the week. This makes it one of the most convenient duty free destinations internationally, as others are not constantly open.

If you want to get an idea of prices, you can browse the Dubai Duty Free website and see the cost of various items listed in United Arab Emirates Dirham, which is the local currency. Simply take this price and use any currency converter (including Google) to see what the equivalent price would be in your home country’s currency so you can budget for your shopping trip.

As a rough guide, in December 2019 the value of one United Arab Emirates Dirham was equivalent to about 0.27 United States Dollars. Using that exchange rate you can now see what various items listed for sale on the Dubai Duty Free would cost in the United States equivalent. The same rule applies for exchanging the United Arab Emirates Dirham to any other currency.

Restrictions On Duty Free Goods Entering And Leaving Dubai

As with other duty free shopping areas at airports in other countries, there is a cap on the amount of goods that you can bring in to Dubai (if you’re shopping at the Dubai Duty Free once you land) or leave Dubai with (if you leave your shopping until you fly home).

For those coming in to the country, you’ll be subject to these restrictions:

  • Any gifts that are under 3,000 United Arab Emirates Dirham in value
  • Alcohol limited to four liters or two beer cartons, maximum size 355 milliliters per carton
  • Cigarettes limited to 400, cigars limited to 50, tobacco limits to 500 grams
  • Any personal items

Also remember that there are significant restrictions on alcohol use within the United Arab Emirates, and that it is generally restricted for tourists to drinking at licensed bars within hotels. It is advisable to save opening any alcohol purchases you might make at Dubai Duty Free until the end of your journey rather than risking any problems buying alcohol upon arrival.

If you’re shopping at Dubai Duty Free at the end of your vacation, research in advance your country’s restrictions on allowances for bringing duty free items home. Some countries have much more generous limits than others so it’s important to know these in advance.

Dubai Duty Free Directory

The sheer size of the Dubai Duty Free shopping area means there are many different types of goods to choose from, with the directory including but not limited to the following:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tobacco products (including cigars and cigarettes)
  • Jewelry and other accessories
  • Gold bars
  • Watches and other timepieces
  • Perfumes including colognes and other fragrances
  • Cosmetics such as makeup
  • Luggage and other bags
  • Stationary including paper and pens
  • Leather goods including wallets, belts and more
  • Sunglasses and other fashion accessories
  • Electronics including computers, tablets phones, and more
  • Fashion for men and women from many famous clothing retailers
  • Cards for making international telephone calls

Interesting Facts About Dubai Duty Free

The entire Dubai Duty Free complex covers roughly 38,000 square meters across the various buildings at Dubai International Airport. It is one of the largest employers in the area, with more than 6,100 staff working at the stores — including 25 so-called pioneer workers who have been employed by Dubai Duty Free ever since its original opening back in 1983.

The most recent year-end statistics available, covering 2018, show that Dubai Duty Free had total sales of exactly 25,507,998 purchases of 68,755,388 items of merchandise.

According to the statistics, the best-selling product is alcohol. The second most popular is fragrances such as perfumes, followed by cigarettes in third place, cosmetics in fourth place, and electronics as the fifth most popular item to buy at the airport.

In particular, the perfume sales reached the equivalent of 1.101 billion United Arab Emirates Dirham and represented almost 15 percent of all items bought at Dubai Duty Free.

Cosmetics, in contrast, had total sales in 2018 worth 762.43 million United Arab Emirates, while the total for all electronics sales came to 595.32 million United Arab Emirates. Dubai Duty Free says that these two categories of products are becoming increasingly popular, with cosmetics jumping almost 22 percent in purchases compared to 2017 and electronics transactions increasing almost nine percent when compared to the prior year’s total.

Other in-demand categories of products for purchase at Dubai Duty Free include watches, and sales of these items totaled 531.36 United Arab Emirates Dirham in 2018.

Not surprisingly for an airport in such a rich nation, sales of gold including 24-karat gold bars are very popular and were responsible for 489.86 million United Arab Emirates Dirham worth of sales in 2018, representing roughly six percent of overall sales at Dubai Duty Free that year.

Another popular item is confectionary such as chocolate and other sweets, which accounted for 475.86 million United Arab Emirates Dirham in sales in 2018, or almost 7 percent of all sales.

Travelers are also increasingly buying their goods upon departure from Dubai rather than when they arrive, as total sales in departures saw a significant increase in 2018, rising just over six percent compared to 2017 for a total of 6.499 billion United Arab Emirates Dirham worth of sales that represents almost 89 percent of the total 2018 sales for Dubai Duty Free.

Hotels Located Near Dubai Airport Duty Free

Although Dubai Duty Free is not very far from other parts of the city, some tourists might want to stay at hotels as close to the airport and its shopping options as possible. If that’s the case then there are at least three options located short distances from Dubai Duty Free:

  • Dubai International Hotel (0.8 kilometers distance)
  • Le Meridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Center (1.44 kilometers distance)
  • Premier Inn Dubai International Airport (0.6 kilometers distance)

Food And Drink Options Located Near Dubai Airport Duty Free

Dubai Duty Free is dedicated to buying goods, so you won’t find any sit-down restaurants or other extensive food and drinks services within the shopping center itself. However, thankfully there are several dining options located nearby, so if you’re hungry or thirsty before or after your shopping adventure then you could try out one of these destinations:

  • Bebemos, serving tapas and alcoholic beverages (1.4 kilometers distance)
  • The Dubliner’s, serving pub-style food and drink (1.6 kilometers distance)
  • Long Yin, serving Cantonese food (1.4 kilometers distance)
  • Meridien Village Terrace, serving global cuisines (1.4 kilometers distance)
  • Seafood Market, serving fish in many different styles (1.4 kilometers distance)
  • Warehouse, a collection of wide-ranging restaurants and bars (1.4 kilometers distance)
  • Yalumba, serving a buffet of international food options (1.2 kilometers distance)

Dubai Duty Free Contact Details

For any additional information about Dubai Duty Free, or to ask specific questions about businesses or other services, try using one of these contact details:

Email address: customer.service@ddf.ae
Telephone number: +971 4 216 2453

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