WTTC unleashes the power of retail tourism


The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) today launched “Global Retail Tourism: Trends and Insights”, a report set to change the way we think about shopping tourism.

Joint research between WTTC and the Hospitality and Tourism Research Center of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in collaboration with the Bicester Collection, was revealed during an event held at La Roca Village, part of the Bicester Collection, in Barcelona, ​​Spain, to coincide with the village’s 25th anniversary.

In 2019, retail tourism represented a significant US$178BN, comprising 6% of the value of the travel and tourism sector, and exceeding 15% in some destinations.

Despite this significant growth in the global economy, it has historically been understudied, resulting in a lack of critical information for strategic foresight.

The latest WTTC report addresses this gap, providing insights into travelers’ shopping habits, including visiting out-of-town retail destinations and highlighting emerging trends such as sustainable retailing.

This report highlights the huge untapped potential of retail tourism for both destinations and businesses.

According to the report, the segment started to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic in most markets in 2021, with America and Europe leading the way.

Showing significant growth, it outperformed the overall economy in almost all pre-pandemic markets, demonstrating its resilience and potential for future growth.

Retail tourism is playing a key role in the recovery of the travel and tourism sector, with inbound tourism revenue expected to grow by 82% in 2022.

Shopping is no longer just a leisure activity; It shapes travel decisions, enhances destination appeal, increases foreign exchange earnings and supports local brands and products.

The report highlights emerging themes including ‘retailtainment’ – the combination of retail and entertainment – to drive shopping and enhance the customer experience.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO, says that retail tourism is no longer just about buying souvenirs; It is a driving force behind the recovery of the travel and tourism sector, which is contributing significantly to revenue, employment generation and overall economic growth.

This report emphasizes the untapped potential of retail tourism and the need for stakeholders across the travel and tourism sector to adapt to changing travel preferences.

Travelers are looking for authentic brands that capture the culture and uniqueness of their destination, as well as luxury brands in luxury settings.

Bicester Collections Chair and Global Chief Merchant Desiree Bollier says that combining economic prosperity with rich experiences, retail tourism enhances communities while celebrating cultural heritage.

A collaborative approach between retail, travel and tourism enhances the traveler journey, balancing sector growth with conscious action.

By advocating for destination integrity, technological embrace, public-private collaboration, empathy for travelers’ perspectives and sound policies, we set the course for a dynamic future of retail tourism.

The report provides valuable insight into the spending patterns and preferences of today’s shopping tourists. It emphasizes integrating experiential tourism with shopping, to meet the needs of retail tourists.

While high-street stores remain popular shopping destinations, out-of-town retail is also growing in popularity, with almost one-third of survey respondents reporting visiting such destinations.

Additionally, online shopping complements rather than the traditional retail experience.

The report also provides valuable recommendations for retail tourism stakeholders, providing guidance on how to successfully navigate these emerging trends.

While the future of retail tourism looks positive, it is essential to acknowledge and address certain obstacles, including challenges related to labor laws and the impact of tax-free shopping policies.

Overcoming these barriers will be critical to the continued growth and sustainability of this dynamic sector.

The post WTTC unleashes the power of retail tourism appeared first on Travel & Tour World.

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