Whether it’s a souk in Marrakech, a bazaar in New Delhi, fresh produce markets in Fiji or a massive shopping mall in America, shopping for souvenirs and one-of-a-kind mementos are an essential part of overseas travel.
While online shopping has brought the global marketplace to your fingertips, nothing can compare to the atmosphere of a spice-laden souk or bartering over street snacks in a night market. Some of the world’s favourite shopping destinations capitalise on their status with annual or twice-yearly sales where shoppers can save up to 70 percent off quality goods.
Here are five of the best shopping festivals around the world.
1. Dubai Shopping Festival
Now running for 19 years, Dubai Shopping Festival is held annually in January and February and is a mecca for big bargains on electronics, fashion, jewellery and more. The glamorous event includes a packed calendar of fashion shows and giveaways where shoppers can save up to 70 percent off items at over 6,000 shops and 70 malls across the emirate. Package deals to Dubai will allow you to take advantage of the sales and the nightly fireworks and shows.
2. Hong Kong Shopping Festival
Hong Kong is ranked at the best shopping city in the Asia-Pacific Region by the Global Shopper Index, which also found 87 percent of tourists go shopping in Hong Kong. To really bag a bargain, visit the city during the annual Hong Kong Shopping Festival from June to August, which is part of the wider Hong Kong Summer Spectacular. Stay and play in Hong Kong during this period for a range of entertainment, gourmet events and music concerts plus savvy savings on end-of-season fashion.
3. The Great Singapore Sale
Held annually during June and July, The Great Singapore Sale or simply GSS has been a major international shopping event for 21 years and offers heavily discounted goods at up to 70 percent off within shopping malls and precincts across the city centre and suburban areas. Enjoy savings and tax-free shopping on souvenirs, fashion, luxury goods, cosmetics and more during Singapore's eight-week event complemented by dining discounts, special walking tours and daily giveaways.
4. Korea Grand Sale
According to the Bank of Korea, South Koreans have a serious shopping addiction, charging the most credit card transactions per capita of any other country in the world in 2011. For those who see shopping as a competitive sport, brave the winter weather to visit here during the two-month Korea Grand Sale in January and February and take advantage of the nationwide discounts in the markets, department stores, boutiques and shopping malls across a wide range of covetable goods.
5. USA Outlet Shopping Festival
A new national weekend event that coordinates major sales in retail outlet malls across the States, shoppers can expect even bigger bargains on already discounted popular clothing, sporting and footwear brands from October 10 to 13 in 2014. The inaugural event last year saw 21 states participate in the USA Outlet Shopping Festival, and what it may lack in the glamour stakes, your savings mean you can splurge more on your hotel, tours and sightseeing instead.