The Dubai Shopping Festival, the annual shopping and entertainment extravaganza, has once again taken the city by storm, creating an unprecedented buzz of leisure activities that underline Dubai's status as the region's tourism and business hub, commented a UAE daily. From its relatively humble beginnings, the DSF has now evolved as a catalyst for the city's economic growth, energising its fundamental sectors including tourism, hospitality, retail and aviation. "By attracting people from around the world to the city, the DSF is demonstrating the clear differentials that make Dubai a much sought-after business and lifestyle destination," Khaleej Times said in its today's editorial. Celebrating the multi-cultural diversity of the city, further embodied in the much-visited Global Village, the DSF highlights how Dubai has evolved as a true beacon of hope for the region. For more than 2.5 billion people in the wider Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, Dubai has emerged as a city that opens doors to new opportunities. There are several examples of how first-time visitors, attracted by the magnetic charm of the DSF, arrive to Dubai, only to return and adopt the city as their second home. While the festival sales and bargains, no doubt, are an incentive to shop, what the DSF does is to convert the experience of shopping into something even more worthwhile. It is, therefore, no surprise that the festival also has several stories of people who find their lives positively charged and changed after one small shopping expedition of theirs makes way for a life-changing journey to good fortune, the editorial read. The success of the DSF, indeed, has few parallels. While the event's scope has been replicated in several other cities and countries, the success achieved by Dubai has been seldom accomplished. No other festival of this nature, arguably, has all the components that fit in seamlessly as in Dubai from its geographic location, the advanced airline connectivity that brings in visitors, the world-class infrastructure and above all the spirit of partnership and engagement between the government, the private sector and the public. The paper wrote, "The vision behind the DSF as a festival that unites the world remains unwavering but what has indeed changed is how it has evolved with time to reflect the aspirations of the people." In that sense, the DSF is now more than a shopping and entertainment event; it celebrates Dubai's community spirit, the feeling of solidarity and its cosmopolitan outlook.