The Dubai Mall. The Dubai Mall.

Emaar, the Dubai-based international real estate and hospitality group, has commenced its massive expansion of The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination, in preparation to welcome over 100 million annual visitors to the mall.

Having hosted over 65 million visitors in 2012, and a record 20 million visitors in the first three months of the year, the highest so far during a three-month period, the expansion of The Dubai Mall will allow for greater footfall in line with Dubai’s Vision 2020, which aims to increase tourist visitors to 100 million per year, and treble the annual contribution made by tourism to the city’s economy.

With the first phase expansion of 1 million sq ft, the fashion portfolio of the mall will be further strengthened, enhancing the city’s high-end retail offerings.

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Chairman of Emaar Properties, Mohamed Alabbar, said: “The Dubai Mall expansion project builds on Dubai’s new Tourism Vision 2020 announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and the city’s focus on offering high-end retail and leisure attractions for residents and visitors from around the world.

“Our strategy to create compelling new retail and lifestyle experiences also supports the city’s growth outlook of further strengthening its core economic sectors, including retail, tourism and hospitality. The current expansion will redefine Dubai’s retail sector, cementing its reputation as a global hub for the latest in fashion.”

To be expanded further, the Fashion Avenue in The Dubai Mall will add new and personalised flagship stores of the world’s most renowned brands. The overall expansion will also bring in other high-end lifestyle and entertainment brands to The Dubai Mall.

Emmar says the new areas will offer foliage-decorated walkways with water features, set on a strip lined by premium stores.

In addition, the plans include a wide range of new F&B outlets along Burj Lake and overlooking The Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest performing fountain.

The group says that the expansion will have minimal impact on the ongoing mall operations. Visitors will continue to have full access to the mall’s 1200 stores, the 200 F&B outlets and array of leisure attractions, as work continues to add new features.

With the aim of enhancing the appeal of the 550-acre mega development which is Downtown Dubai, the mall expansion will also add a choice of residential, commercial and hospitality components, with views of The Dubai Fountain, and Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.