International visitors to the UAE during the Dubai Shopping Festival 2012 (DSF) broke their spending records compared to previous years, according to figures released today by Visa, one of the world’s leading electronic payments networks and lead sponsor of the region’s premier shopping event. The results from Visa’s trusted ‘Visa Vue Travel Data’ showed that the total inbound Visa card spend in the UAE between the January 5 and February 5, 2012, came to more than $497 million (Dh1.825 billion) compared to just over $406 million during the DSF 2011 period (January 20 to February 20, 2011) – equal to a year-on-year increase of 22 per cent. The event got off to a flying start from the very beginning, with spending for the first week hitting a high on 6 January, when $19 million was spent on overseas Visa cards. The good news for retailers is that spending continued at a positive pace right throughout the DSF period, with sales reaching a peak on 29 January when they topped $20 million, over $5 million more than the $15.5 million average daily spend during overall the DSF 2012 period. The statistics also revealed that cardholders from Russia, Saudi Arabia and the US were the top spending countries during the DSF 2012 period, contributing more than $122 million, $106 million and $92 million respectively to the UAE economy – with each showing significant increases in spend compared to the DSF 2011 period.