The contribution of shopping tourism to the recovery of tourism in the new normality will be key, as VIA Outlets has been able to verify in its network of eleven shopping destinations in Europe, which has reopened all its centres since mid-June, with sales and visitor figures that exceed those reached last year in some of its outlets.
Shopping is once again part of our habits in our place of residence and in the destinations we travel to. According to the INE, almost 10% of the more than 46 billion euros spent on tourism in Spain in 2019 was spent on consumption at the destination, after deducting the costs of transport, accommodation and food. This figure represents the potential of tourist consumption and its role in the reactivation of the local economy of the destinations, especially in the medium and long term.
Confinement has not been uniform across Europe, and VIA Outlets has been able to see how the phenomenon of face-to-face shopping has varied according to the circumstances of each country. The centres in the Netherlands (Batavia Stad Fashion Outlet in Amsterdam), Norway (Oslo Fashion Outlet) and Sweden (Hede Fashion Outlet in Göteborg) remained open and served as a reference in terms of safety and experience for visitors to design the reopening plan for the rest, including Sevilla Fashion Outlet and Mallorca Fashion Outlet in Spain, which have been operational since May 25.
VIA Outlets has developed a special safe shopping protocol, designed in accordance with the guidelines of local governments and health authorities in each of the eleven destinations where they have an outlet, to ensure the safety and welfare of visitors and staff. In addition to guidelines to ensure social distancing, health and hygiene measures for customers have been reinforced with comprehensive systems for cleaning public areas, disinfection stations in all centres and inside the stores, and visitor flow management tools to avoid crowding.
As Otto Ambagtsheer, CEO of VIA Outlets, explains, “We are seeing that visitors have missed coming to our centres and enjoying the face-to-face shopping experience, as we are getting very promising sales and customer traffic figures; even in some of our centres, spending per visitor is higher than at the same time last year. VIA Outlets expects that, with the reopening of European borders, the number of visitors and sales will continue to improve in the coming weeks.
Safe shopping environments to reactivate shopping tourism
“After the difficult times we have experienced, we see the light at the end of the tunnel,” says Ambagtsheer, “We hope to make up for lost time, seeing that the desire to shop in safe shopping environments is stronger than ever, for residents and travelers alike.
In line with the words of the CEO of VIA Outlets, according to recent data from the Spanish Association of Shopping Centres (AECC), the influx to these spaces does not differ significantly from last year and even higher average spending is perceived; a phenomenon similar to what is happening in Europe.
The reopening of the 568 shopping centres and parks in Spain has also revived the local economies of cities and destinations that have been badly affected by the suspension of economic activity as a result of the pandemic, and has enabled part of the more than 740,000 jobs, 46% direct and 54% indirect, generated by this sector to be recovered. This same phenomenon is being observed in European countries, where the more than five million jobs associated with the more than 10 thousand commercial areas and spaces that receive and are waiting, once again, for visitors and travelers in their facilities are progressively recovering.
About VIA Outlets
VIA Outlets is the fastest growing European outlet shopping destination operator, strategically located in many of Europe’s most vibrant cities. VIA Outlets offers a perfect, world-class, unique and character-filled shopping and tourism experience in its 11 select shopping destinations, inspired by local beauty and idiosyncrasies.
Founded in 2014, VIA Outlets is owned, in a 50/50 joint venture, by Dutch pension fund APG and UK REIT Hammerson plc. VIA Outlets currently has a portfolio of 11 premium outlets across Europe, offering over 1,100 stores on 267,000 square metres of gross rentable area in nine European destinations. For more information about VIA Outlets, please visit www.viaoutlets.com.
Author: World Shopping Tourism