In the social dynamics that constitute this era of modernity and globalisation it’s increasingly common to understand the event of purchasing as an activity in itself, which beyond the reality of exchanging money for a determined needed product constitutes a leisure activity and this is how Tourism has understood it. Tourism and shopping have always maintained an ample relation, such is the form in which they are linked that we can now refer to Shopping Tourism as a particular category with elements that characterize it and differentiate it from other types of Tourism. Shopping Tourism can be considered one of the main motives of a significant amount of people who take this parameter into account when choosing a destination. Likewise, it impulses strategic means through which destinations promote and position themselves compared to others. Currently this mode of leisure constitutes one of the most determining aspects when promoting a destination, as it undoubtedly is one of the requirements for the majority of tourists. It’s worth mentioning that currently Tourism stands out as one of the most important activities within the economic development and in the same way Shopping Tourism constitutes an indisputable factor of development and human exchange in societies.

Photo by Hessam Hojati
Photo by Hessam Hojati

In general terms, it’s possible to define Shopping Tourism as the displacement of an individual away from their region of origin or residence moved by the aim of acquiring various products in a determined place of the chosen destination especially for this purpose. Shopping Tourism is one of the categories of Tourism with the largest expansion on a global scale, this is due to the flow of tourists who acquire determined goods, articles, objects or artisanal products that correspond with a well defined seal of cultural identity, belonging to the territories and regions visited, in this way new means of social development and economic benefit are generated in the receiving territories.

Shopping Tourism in the first instance is characterized by being a contemporary form of tourist activity while bringing a tourist product defined as a combination of material and immaterial elements such as natural and cultural resources as well as tourist attractions, facilities, services and the activities which are carried out around a concrete element of interest, all this represents the essence of a marketing plan of a destination and creates an integral tourist experience that makes it attractive for the possible and future users, clients or tourists.

Shopping Tourism includes determining factors for its satisfying development, one of them is the difference of price and quality of the products in so far as having access to an advantageous price is one of the most important impulses for finally acquiring a product in the place of visit, whether it was the motive of the trip or not. Both the price as well as the quality of the offered products are parameters that are usually considered when making a purchase in the visited places. Another one of the determining factors is the variety or difference of the assortment, given that the tourist usually acquires products they don’t have access to in their territory of origin for various motives, in this sense it’s possible that the tourist returns repeatedly with the intention of acquiring the product of their particular interest, which propitiates and at the same time favours loyalty. There are, however, many aspects that motivate a tourist to choose a certain shopping destination.

Shopping Tourism necessarily has to be a pleasant Tourism experience as whether in big capitals or more peripheral regions, the essential thing is to bring an entire set of quality services which propitiate good reputation and with it the place acquires a certain prestige, in the way that it manages to be a seductive destination for not only attracting tourists that come for buying but also for awaking their loyalty to the territory and all that it offers. In the case of Spain, local luxury brands are scarce, however the offer of big brands makes cities like Barcelona, Madrid or Marbella centres of attraction and interest for doing Shopping Tourism. This limitation is compensated by the search for excellence in customer care, meaning that it is attempted to entertain tourists to make the shopping experience so satisfying that they express their desire to return to Spain.

Lastly, one of the purposes proposed by Shopping Tourism is to generate the phenomenon known as Tourism of Quality, which has become popularized in recent years. Guaranteeing a Tourism of Quality also involves guaranteeing the most favourable offers for the tourists while providing services subject to high quality standards, which conditions a favourable ground so that the tourist increases the expenses on the trip. However, as a Tourism of Quality is offered it needs to be directed to a tourist in particular, the Tourist of Quality is one in that the level of satisfaction is such that the experience during the trip has been so positive, that they become a promoter of the products and the service received, thereby generating that other clients or tourists take this destination into account when choosing the most favourable place to do Shopping Tourism.

Author: member of World Shopping Tourism Network