Retailers welcome foreign tourists to return home in hopes of lifting travel bans and recovering sales

Pedestrians with shopping bags will wait to cross the streets of the SoHo district of New York, USA on Sunday, October 24, 2021. online. Global supply chain bottlenecks pose new challenges to the e-commerce industry. Out-of-stock items are of increasing concern.Photographer: Nina Westerbelt / Bloomberg via Getty Images

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As the holiday shopping season begins, retailers across the country want to get a lift from another wave of consumers: international tourists who can visit the United States again

From Monday, the Biden administration Foreign visitors will be able to re-enter the country.. Due to the worldwide increase in cases of Covid-19, most foreign travelers from more than 30 countries, including the United Kingdom and Brazil, have been restricted since early 2020. Visitors must be fully vaccinated with Covid and have a negative Covid test within 3 days prior to departure. The exemption applies if travelers under the age of 18 have medical reasons to prevent vaccination or if they are traveling from any of the 50 countries where vaccination is not available.

For retailers, this policy is a long-awaited change that could help fill stores and generate big sales again. The billions of dollars tourists spend on souvenirs, as well as luxury handbags, luxury cosmetics, top-notch liquor, and other items they often can’t find at home, are at stake. According to the Bureau of Foreign Trade, global visitors promoted more than $ 43.4 billion in shopping in 2019. This represents 27% of all travel and tourism shopping.

However, retail experts and businesses say it will take time for tourists to return to the United States and spend their time at post-pandemic levels. The number of airline flights is still low. Other countries, including China, have severely restricted outbound travel. Also, from long lines at the airport to evidence of vaccination to Covid testing on return, pandemic-related logistics can delay travelers in booking their trips.

“Airlines tell us that bookings are skyrocketing. When are we not quantifying? Hotels tell us that bookings are on the rise. When are they not telling us? Is it? “Daniel said. Binder, a Columbus consulting partner with a focus on travel retail. “The ban will be lifted and it will take time.”

As a longtime executive at DFS, a luxury travel retailer owned by LVMH, Binder saw up close the purchasing power of foreign tourists, especially Chinese tourists. He also said he saw tourists from around the world gather and spend months free after other difficult times, such as the 9/11 attacks and the SARS outbreak.

Still, National Retail Federation CEO Matt Shay said he was optimistic as the ban was lifted. He said Americans are also shopping as they become more comfortable booking travel, eating out, and living a more active life. When foreign tourists visit, it “shock the retail side,” he said.

“The return to the service and experience economy is positive and beneficial to retailers and will be further enhanced by the return of these international visitors to the United States,” he said in a phone call with reporters. ..

A pedestrian carrying a shopping bag in the Soho district of New York, USA on Sunday, October 24, 2021.

Nina Wester Belt | Bloomberg | Getty Images

“Shooted in my arms” in New York City

International shoppers will be an important factor in the recovery of New York City. Visitors from other countries spend an estimated $ 4.75 billion on shopping, usually in a year, according to the city’s tourism agency, NYC & Company.

According to a 2018 survey by the Department of Commerce, shopping is the most popular activity for people visiting the city from other countries. Eighty-eight percent of foreign visitors say they are participating. This is compared to 86% who participate in sightseeing, 54% who go to museums and galleries, and 29% who experience fine dining.

In contrast, when in New York City, less than 30% of tourists from other parts of the United States shop.

Chris Haywood, Executive Vice President of Global Communications at NYC & Company, said: “Welcome international travelers is exactly the shot in the arms that New York City needs right now.”

In the coming days, Haywood said tourism groups will announce projects with Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and other retailers, encouraging visitors to return to their stores. He said the group plans to spend $ 6 million worldwide on advertising about New York City over the next few months. He said money would be concentrated in countries that had loosened policies to make it easier for the people to come and go. These include South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, France and Italy. Places with very strict restrictions, such as China, will not be part of an advertising campaign.

Shoppers will carry Zarabags on Fifth Avenue in New York on Saturday, May 22, 2021.

Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images

According to Haywood, New York City has the advantage of having many shopping districts that are themselves tourist destinations, in addition to attractions such as Broadway shows and museums, such as Fifth Avenue, Times Square and Hudson Yard. ..

“This is an opportunity to actually go back to this concept of the shopping experience and have the right to brag about” buying on Fifth Avenue “or” buying in New York, “he said. “That’s something people couldn’t have.”

Still, he said it would take years to recover the city’s tourism and shopping revenues. The group expects approximately 2.8 million international visitors to come to New York City this year, compared to 13.5 million international visitors in 2019. Level before the pandemic.

“We want to accelerate that timeline as much as possible,” he said.

“We haven’t seen a tremendous move.”

Some retailers said they don’t expect sales to skyrocket soon after the travel ban is lifted. For many companies, especially those other than luxury spaces, the market is not an important part of the business.Department store chain Macy’sFor example, foreign tourists will account for about 4% of sales in 2019.

Capri HoldingsOwning Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo believes that some international tourists will book trips to the United States in the coming weeks. However, CEO John Idol said in a conference call Wednesday that there were only a few foreign tourists returning to Europe after the travel ban was lifted. And he said he had never returned to Japan or South Korea.

“Our predictions are that big moves will not change our trajectory, at least next year,” said the idol.

But for a company like Tiffany, it may be worth the effort to bring foreign visitors back to US stores.Currently owned jewelry chain LVMH, Usually about 12% of domestic sales come from foreign tourists.

This holiday season, Tiffany has opened a pop-up shop in Manhattan’s West Village area. This pop-up shop pays homage to legendary Tiffany designer Jean-Schlumberger. The Instagram-friendly space with lots of activities such as backgrounds and paintings is open to the public from Monday to January 8th.

The Tiffany West Village pop-up location is open to the public from November 8th to January 8th, 2022.

Source: Tiffany & Co.

The 2020 home trend and consumer transition to e-commerce are most difficult for mall operators, who expect to benefit traffic as foreigners return. I am.

David Simon, CEO of Simon Property Group, told analysts at a conference call on Monday.

Simon’s mall is home to Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Galleria Mall in Houston, and numerous premium outlet centers.

In New Jersey, the American Dream Mega Mall is tired of foreigners visiting. Part of the development of 3 million square feet First open to the public in October 2019.. However, due to pandemic restrictions, it was soon closed. When the American Dream door first opened in the fall of 2019, operator Triple Five Group told CNBC that Megamall would attract 40 million visitors annually. Most of them are foreigners. It’s probably only when you see a fragment of it.

The American Dream is stepping up its efforts to bring tourists to New Jersey’s Meadowland to court in preparation for Monday. Megamall has a team dedicated to tourism that accommodates travel agencies and helps visitors book trips to development.

Jill Renslow, Executive Vice President of Marketing at Triple Five, said: “We are also working with New Jersey … we make sure we are introducing everything that New Jersey offers.”

She said the fact that clothing and shoe sales in New Jersey are generally duty-free should be another attractive factor for foreign visitors to head to the state.

Just last month, the first round of luxury retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana opened in the American Dream. These luxury stores also have their own wings within the mega mall. There is a separate escalator entrance for the buses there to transport tourists and their shopping bags.

Jeweler David Yurman laid the groundwork for growing international sales during a pandemic. With 45 stores in the United States and several in Canada, we partner with jewelry stores and department stores in other parts of the world.

Over the past year and a half, Lee Tucker’s head of marketing, David Uman, has launched a dedicated website in another country and an initiative to attract more Chinese customers. He said he has launched a limited collection through social media and messaging apps.

According to Tucker, jewelry store salespeople know how to speak different languages, including Mandarin, Arabic and Persian, making it a place to welcome and relax tourists.

Starting this month, the company’s ad-wrapped double-decker buses are heading to destinations such as Rodeo Drive and Newport Beach. There, tourists from abroad can see it and get inspiration for shopping.

“We are holding our breath to understand how foreign tourists return to our city and which groups will travel here first,” he says. I did.

Retailers welcome foreign tourists to return home in hopes of lifting travel bans and recovering sales

Source link Retailers welcome foreign tourists to return home in hopes of lifting travel bans and recovering sales

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