Entry of luxury brands ‘to boost shopping tourism’ in Philippines

THE continued entry of more luxury brands to the Philippine market is seen to boost the country’s shopping tourism, an industry stakeholder said.

More than a reflection of investor confidence on the country’s economic fundamentals, Consul Robert Joseph believes the expansion of high-end products in the country is an opportunity to entice more tourists to travel.

“Shopping now has become essential to the destination mix,” said Joseph.

He said that while these luxury brands are also present in their own countries, foreign tourists still opt to include shopping in their travel plans here because of the price disparity and the availability of more styles.

“We are cheaper here. That’s why more foreign tourists come here to shop although they have as many shops of this particular brand in their country,” said Joseph, who is the chairman emeritus of the Network of Independent Travel Agencies (Nitas).

He added that even developers of high-end casinos in the country have put in place a retail component in their facility to boost retail spending especially among affluent tourists and locals.

What interests other tourists though, Joseph said, is also the presence of branded local products. These are items that are made in the Philippines but use imported materials.

“Now you can buy $200-$300 that are of good and high-quality already,” he said.

Joseph saidforeign tourists in particular like buy something that is unique to a destination.

The entry of more global brands in the market does not only capitalize on the high consumer spending of Filipinos, it is also making shopping tourism a popular activity that can boost tourism expenditures, said Joseph.

Tory Burch, an American lifestyle brand recently brought its beauty line to Cebu market, banking primarily on the province’s booming tourism industry, increasing expatriate and affluent buyer population.

“Cebu’s market is vibrant and is fashion-forward. We are happy to report that we are performing well here,” said Audrey Anna Laglagaron, sales executive of ELC Beauty Inc.

The United Nations-World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) sees linkage of vacation planning and retail experiences becoming more evident, this as shopping has become a motivation for people to travel on top of going to vacation to sight see.

“Shopping is becoming an important part of the tourism value chain, it has become a decisive factor at the time of choosing a destination and, in some cases, the primary reason for travel”, said Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of UNWTO in a statement.

According to the UNWTO Global Report on Shopping Tourism, shopping tourism is gaining in importance within a sector of tourism that is seeking to diversify in both mature and emerging markets. It noted that “shopping tourism is one of the drivers that will contribute to economic development and job creation worldwide.”

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