The many faces of shopping tourism presented in latest UNWTO report

A weekend break to Germany’s Christmas markets. Discovering the boutiques along the Avenue des Champs Global Report on Shopping TourismElysées. Buying that special gift at the airport duty-free shop. Splashing out in style in a two hundred year-old department store. Discovering the bustling night markets of downtown Hong Kong or getting lost in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul… Shopping for pleasure is no longer a purely incidental activity to dip into while travelling for leisure. Today, for millions of tourists it represents the principal – or one of the principal- motivations for travelling.That’s the rationale behind the UNWTO’s latest market trends report the Global Report on Shopping Tourism.

I am proud to have compiled this report in its latest stages over the past five months, explaining the behaviour of the most avid shoppers from the emerging markets and seeking the recipe for success for a shopping tourism destination. You can see this report and others I’ve compiled in my bibliography.

With the appetite for shopping among travellers from both advanced and emerging economies on the rise (it is frequently cited as the number one motivation for visiting a destination by travellers from both advanced and emerging economies), the development of shopping tourism is a phenomenon that is attracting increased attention from policy makers, academics and business leaders around the globe.

As with all aspects of destination management and marketing however, balancing the interests of all stakeholders is a complex process, requiring investment, knowledge, experience and above all, partnership. The report aims to investigate the current development of shopping tourism and discuss how it could make a sustainable contribution to destination development.

Shopping has always been an integral part of the tourism experience, even if it’s just to buy essential supplies while on the road. It is interesting however, to note how prominent the retail experience is becoming in city marketing campaigns. The report how some cities like London and Paris have recognised the central role that retail tourism plays in the city’s economy, and how coalitions of retailers (such as London’s New West End Company) have formed partnerships to take city centre management into their own hands.

For those not keen on mega-malls, outlets or the effect of online retail, it’s important to remember the many faces of shopping tourism. For Gen C Travellers, shopping frequently provides the opportunity to meet local people, sample local produce and make a direct contribution to their livelihoods.

In my next post I’ll describe in more detail the concrete steps that destinations can take to capitalise on the growth of this segment, and how this can be applied most effectively to attracting Gen C Travellers.

Boquería Market, Barcelona


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