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TTC Special: Introducing the Shopping Tourism


Shopping tourism as a driver of economic development is a main motivation for travel. Photo: 123rf

By F.Matrin

TTC Service.- The Municipality of León in Mexico and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) will carry out the country’s first project to develop Shopping Tourism.

The innovative project, one of the first in the world is expected to serve as an international reference point and as a showcase at major tourism forums, UNWTO officials said.

Shopping Tourism is becoming an increasingly relevant component of the tourism value chain.

According to the organization shopping has converted into a determinant factor affecting destination choice, an important component of the overall travel experience and, in some cases the prime travel motivation.

Destinations have thus an immense opportunity to leverage this new market trend by developing authentic and unique shopping experiences that add value to their touristic offer while reinforcing, and even, defining their tourism brand and positioning.

Shopping is one of the major categories of tourists’ expenditure, representing a significant source of income for national economies both directly and through the many linkages to other sectors in the economy.

Experts added that, its increasing significance as part of the overall tourism offer and the keys for its success, both from the destination’s perspective as from the needs from the shopping tourist.

The UNWTO Shopping Tourism Product Development Project in Mexico was created to develop a tourism product targeting the premium segment in cities and serve as a model for tourism product development in urban destinations.

UNWTO spoke persons of the organization  added the project gathered public and private sector partners from diverse areas such as technology, hospitality, arts and culture, handicrafts, retail shoppers, design and insurance, working together under a guiding theme to create new and innovative products, targeted at an urbanite tourist.

The pilot project of shopping tourism was conducted in the city of Madrid in 2014 in collaboration with the Madrid City Council and with the support of Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Spain.

In the case of Leon, Guanajuato, the local Tourism Observatory of that Mexica State of has been a member of the UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories since 2014.

At the World Tourism Organization’s General Assembly held in Medellin, Colombia, in September 2015, Guanajuato expressed its interest in being one of the destinations to develop a project on shopping tourism, and León was the selected destination in light of the fact that 27% of its tourists visit the city to go shopping.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.