DURING the whole month of March the Department of Tourism (DOT) will pump money to promote retail tourism at this time of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Filipino consumers have lessened their trips to malls and other areas with high foot traffic due to concerns over the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Malls in Metro Manila, according to Alegria Limjoco, chaiperson of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have already recorded a 20 to 30 percent drop in sales as people refrain from going out.
She said since the outbreak of Covid-19, consumers have opted to shop for items online.
The DOT, malls and associations are gearing up for the mall month-long “The 2020 Philippine Shopping Festival” that will run from March 1 to 31, 2020 in Metro Manila, Agusan del Norte, Antique, Bacolod, Baguio, Bataan, Bicol Region, Bukidnon, Bulacan, Butuan City, Cagayan de Oro, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Camarines Sur, Capiz, Cebu, Davao, Ilocos Norte, Iloilo, Lanao del Norte, Legazpi City in Albay, Leyte, Misamis Oriental, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Nueva Ecija, Palawan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, South Cotabato (General Santos City) and Zambales (Olongapo City).
Limjoco said participating in the month-long shopping festival will allow retailers to recover losses incurred in the first two months of the year.
“If we will not do this, people will just stay at home. So we are giving up our margins for them,” said Limjoco, who is also the vice chairperson of the Philippine Franchise Association.
15 to 70 percent off
During the shopping fest, foreign and local tourists can expect 15 percent up to 70 percent discounts on many Philippine-made products, including food and dining, jewelry and fashion, crafts, furniture, and decor, and beauty and wellness products, making shopping an integral part of visitors’ itineraries.
Travelers can also look for affordable airfares and cheaper hotel accommodations during the promotion period.
The DOT said it aims to position the country as a destination where shopping is fun, unique and affordable.
Based on the DOT’s visitor sample survey in 2018, shopping is the most common tourist activity in the country at 38 percent.
“It’s not hard to see that elevating the shopping experience will go a long way to enhance the attractiveness of our tourist destinations all over the Philippines, whether it is our big cities or in our beautiful provinces. We’ve recognized this in the National Tourism Development Plan of 2016 to 2022, where leisure, entertainment and shopping tourism is one of the 10 products we want to further develop in the next few years,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, in a statement.
Puyat also assured that “There’s Fun in Every Find” for the duration of the shopping fest as the sale features a variety of Philippine-made items.
“Buying local helps support our craftsmen and artisans, as well as their communities. More importantly, it helps preserve our culture, traditions and Filipino way of life,” she added.
#FunFinds2020 is the official hashtag of the country’s first shopping festival.
“We invite all tourists to ‘Be Part of the Fun’ by supporting the 2020 Philippine Shopping Sale this March. We also look forward to it becoming a yearly and anticipated feature on the nation’s event calendar,” said Puyat.
Participating malls are Araneta Group, Ayala Land Malls Inc., Duty Free Philippines Corp., Filinvest Land Inc., Greenfield Development Corp., Vista Malls, Megaworld Corp., Ortigas Land, Power Plant Mall, Robinsons Land Corp., Rustan Commercial Corp., Shangri-La Plaza Corp., SM Supermalls and Stores Specialists Inc.
Airlines including Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, Air Asia, Air Carriers Association of the Philippines will also be slashing off airfare to spur domestic tourism.
“This ambitious project, designed to increase tourism expenditure in the country, would not have been possible without the full support and cooperation of the nation’s mall operators, retailers, franchise holders, hotel and tour operators and travel agencies,” added Puyat. (KOC WITH PR)