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Julia Simpson, Prof Haiyan Song, Desirée Bollier and and Elena Foguet.

Time to recognise retail tourism potential: report

BARCELONA, Spain, September 10, 2023

Retail tourism is not just about shopping, it's about revenue, job creation and influencing travellers’ choices, says a new report. 
 
The report, “Global Retail Tourism: Trends and Insights”, a collaborative effort between the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), The Bicester Collection and Hong Kong Polytechnic University, was launched at a thought leadership event exploring the significant untapped potential of retail tourism.
 
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “In the world of Travel & Tourism, retail tourism's significance cannot be overstated. Accounting for over $178 billion of global GDP in 2019, it's time to recognise its true potential." 
 
The event took place at La Roca Village, part of The Bicester Collection, in Barcelona on Friday, concluding with a resounding call for attention to the importance of retail tourism. 
 
In 2019, retail tourism represented a substantial $178bn, comprising 6% of the Travel & Tourism sector's value, and exceeding 15% in some destinations, the report said. 
 
Despite this significant boost to economies across the globe, it has historically been under-researched, leading to a lack of critical data for strategic foresight,it said.
 
The report addresses this gap, offering insights into travellers’ shopping habits, including visits to out-of-town retail destinations, and highlights emerging trends such as sustainable retail. 
 
This report sheds light on the immense untapped potential of retail tourism for both destinations and businesses.
 
According to the report, this segment began to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic in most markets in 2021, with the Americas and Europe leading the way. Demonstrating remarkable growth, it outpaced overall economies in almost all markets pre-pandemic, showcasing its resilience and future growth prospects.
 
Retail tourism is playing a pivotal role in the recovery of the Travel & Tourism sector, which saw inbound tourism revenues surging by 82% in 2022. Shopping is no longer just a leisure activity; it shapes travel decisions, enhances destination appeal, boosts foreign exchange earnings, and supports local brands and products.
 
The report highlights emerging themes, including ‘retailtainment’ – the fusion of retail and entertainment – to incentivise shopping and enhance the customer’s experience. 
 
With a strong focus on data and insights, the report seeks to define the future of retail tourism, highlighting the key trends, challenges, and opportunities shaping the sector. 
 
"I urge stakeholders worldwide to read, reflect, and act upon this report's findings. We now have a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities in retail tourism. It's our collective responsibility to embrace these opportunities, shape the industry's future, and embark on an exciting journey,” said Simpson.
 
Desirée Bollier, Chair and Global Chief Merchant, The Bicester Collection commented: “Retail Tourism plays a crucial role in infusing a vibrant economic upswing into local communities, accelerating the creation of jobs and fuelling infrastructure expansion. Retail, travel, and tourism are all intertwined and must work together to enhance the tourist's journey. This collaborative mindset will ultimately be an equal win for the tourism industry and the traveller.”
 
The event featured a series of conversations, highlighting key voices across multiple business sectors. Moderated by international news anchor Maria Ramos, the panel speakers included: 
•    Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO
•    Desirée Bollier, The Bicester Collection Chair and Global Chief Merchant
•    Professor Haiyan Song, School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Director of Hospitality and Tourism Research Center
•    Maribel Rodriguez, WTTC Senior Vice President Membership, Commercial, & Events 
•    Miguel Sanz, Tourespaña General Director
•    Elena Foguet, The Bicester Collection Business Director Spain 
•    Jeni Mundy, VISA Global Senior Vice President Merchant Sales & Acquiring
•    Anne Madison, Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) Senior Vice President Global Marketing & Strategic Communications
•    Nikolina Angelkova, Terra Way Investment Group Member of the Board
 - TradeArabia News Service
 



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