When we refer to Tourism, we’re talking about a practice linked to the mobility of people towards places different from those where they usually reside with the purpose of finding spaces to relax, get entertained, get to know other cultures, etc. This activity has transformed the way we relate to nature, the territory and the culture once we appropriate territories and modify them according to how we conceive ourselves within them (such as a study by the University of Chile and the Regional University of Blumenau, led by Christian Henríquez, stated in 2017).

Photo by Tristan Colangelo
Photo by Tristan Colangelo

Tourism of Purchases, as a derivation of this phenomenon of mobility, is focused on travels to any place in the world with the purpose of acquiring objects and souvenirs that not only grant the traveler better accessibility of the product (unlike how it would be obtained in the place of origin) but also give them a significant value of the culture they visit, whether it´s rural or urban. In this sense the dynamic of buying and selling acquires importance for the tourist instances, the shops and the tourist, focusing their attention on every product desired by the tourist-buyer.

One of the main traits of Shopping Tourism is the possibility of acquiring a product for a lower price than in other places, as well as finding articles characteristic for the zone, belonging to its culture, or technological artifacts that haven’t arrived in the country where the traveler lives yet. Due to this, according to La nueva era del travel retail de EY (2015), Shopping Tourism needs to take into account: the product offer, the accommodation and cultural and leisure spaces to be visited, the impact on a local, national and international level also needs to be considered as well as the security for the traveler, exchange rates, tax rates, languages, schedules, among other aspects.

Based on the idea “Business contributes to improving the satisfaction of the expectation of the tourist and the global assessment they make of their tourist experience” (Global Journey Consulting), Shopping Tourism has large impact on the commercial activity of a region, given that it propitiates that its inhabitants can destine their resources for improving their own space, based on their raw material or external products, on top of offering more jobs due to the demand and the quality of the experience for the tourists.

This allows us to talk about Tourism of Quality, focused on the concretion of all the expectations demanded by the tourists in front of the tourist reality. In other terms, quality is appreciated in the success the traveler has had during his travel experience, which is noted by the capacity of profitability and the sustainability of every tourist scene for the acquisition and purchase of any product for sale that can be desired by the person, according to the place where it’s offered.

On a global scale during recent years, settings such as China, Bangkok, London, Paris, Dubai, Singapore, New York, Geneva, Zurich, among others, have turned into the pioneers of this form of Tourism because they destine a large part of their budgets for improvement of tourist spaces and the establishments that bring attention to the traveler, those who tend to spend approximately 150 $ daily for the purchase of products, based on a Tourism of Quality, according to ESATUR Formación and the statistics portal STATISTA (2018).

Shopping Tourism still has a lot to give. No matter the growth of virtual purchases (which inhibit the physical displacement of the person to the place where the product is found), how expensive a product becomes in any place of the world or the limitations a community has considering this matter, Tourism will always be a unique activity for people. The diversion, the entertainment, the good experiences motivate people to invest in some object of the visited place for it being the best symbol of the trip made.

Author: member of World Shopping Tourism Network