Shopping tourism is a new concept in recent years. However, the contributions of this type of tourism to the socio-economic show its strong potentials for growth in the future.

Shopping has been an additional factor and contributes to the entire travel experience of a traveler for a long time. In the last few years, shopping has become one of the more influential factors in travelers' choices for travel and even a major driver of travel decisions. This has contributed to gradually forming the concept of "shopping tourism" which is more interested in recent years.

According to the WTO, shopping tourism is defined as a contemporary form of tourism in which the shopping factor at the destination becomes the determining factor in travelers’ decision to travel.

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The contributions of shopping tourism

  • Increasing the attractiveness and competitiveness of the destination

The emergence of shopping tourism creates new opportunities for destinations to expand and diversify new experiences for travelers. In addition to experiences related to the specific landscape or culture of the destination, the experiences of shopping for local products and luxury goods can become an attraction to attract tourists to choose the destination.

Some destinations in the world such as Spain, Korea, and Dubai have also developed the shopping experiences to become strengths in their tourism brand positioning. During the 2nd Conference on Shopping Tourism organized by UNWTO in 2016, shopping tourism was considered "one of the most used tools in the promotion of destinations".

  • Growth in tourism revenue of destinations

Travelers’ expenditure is one of the most important contributors to the tourism revenue of destinations. For shopping tourism, travelers’ spending is even more important because it is their main driver when making the trip. Therefore, diversifying the shopping experiences to encourage travelers to spend makes many benefits for the growth in revenue of destinations.

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  • Supporting local socio-economic growth

Shopping tourism has a close connection with many other economic sectors in the destination, especially retail. The development of shopping tourism in a destination drives directly the growth of local retail sales, including travel retail. Shopping festivals in many countries such as the Korea Grand Sale and Dubai Shopping Festival attract a large number of local and foreign retailers as well as travelers to sell and shop each year.

Besides, the increasing demand for shopping of travelers also creates favorable conditions for the development of local manufacturing, trade, and many related service industries. Manufacturing businesses have an additional source of customers willing to spend on quality products with specifics of the destination. The development of manufacturing also promotes trade and import-export activities to be more vibrant. The fact that travelers spend a lot of time going shopping and experience is also a favorable condition for the development of accommodation and dining services of the destination.

In addition, in the social aspect, shopping tourism development also creates jobs and increases income for local communities.

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The potential of shopping tourism

With the positive effects of shopping tourism on the local economy, many destinations around the world have begun to bring this type of tourism into their sustainable tourism development strategy.

In Volume eight of the Global Report on Shopping Tourism published by UNWTO, Miguel Mirones, Chairman of the Board of the UNWTO Affiliate Members wrote: “In the short and medium term, shopping tourism will be consolidated as a key segment within the tourism industry, according to its influence in local economies and contribution to the consolidation of destinations and creation of jobs."

Source: Destination Review 

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