‘WE’VE got it all for you.”
Like the well-known retailer SM, the Philippines is likely singing the same tune as it offers not just beautiful destinations to amaze tourists, but also a myriad of activities for foreign and local travelers to enjoy.
Last Friday, the Department of Tourism (DOT), in partnership with SM Supermalls, launched a new campaign, “Malling is More Fun in the Philippines,” to promote the country as a shopping haven in Asia.
“It’s no small feat that SM Supermalls have somewhat defined our cities and helped shape our collective memory,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat in her speech during the campaign’s launch at the SM Mega Fashion Hall at Megamall in the Ortigas business district. “And now that tourist numbers have continued to climb, shopping centers such as SM will hold great influence on how our visitors from around the globe will perceive us, and on the experience that they will take away,” she emphasized.
DOT’s campaign, she said, invites locals and tourists alike to experience why shopping, leisure and entertainment in the Philippines are more enjoyable compared to other destinations. The agency’s push for shopping tourism “is part of the equation to spur economic growth, create millions of jobs, livelihoods and enterprises, and help the Philippines become a globally recognized quality destination,” the DOT chief added.
According to DOT’s Visitors Sample Survey for 2017, a copy of which was obtained by the BusinessMirror, shopping dominated the list of “other activities” enjoyed by tourists from the top 12 source markets of the Philippines, aside from their main purpose of holidaying here.
Of the 15,000 visitors surveyed, the data indicated that Indian tourists enjoyed the most shopping in the country (57.14 percent of their respondents); followed by tourists from Japan at 46.11 percent; Malaysia, 42.5 percent; Canada, 41.4 percent; Hong Kong, 39.1 percent; South Korea, 38.5 percent; the United States, 38.4 percent; Singapore, 37.8 percent; the United Kingdom, 34.2 percent; Australia, 32.7 percent; China, 29.2 percent; and Taiwan, 28.5 percent.
Overseas Filipinos, or those citizens with Philippine passports living abroad, excluding overseas workers, were also major visitors to retailers in the country, with 45.7 percent of their respondents indicating shopping as their top “other activity.”
As part of the “Malling is More Fun” campaign, mall goers are invited to participate in special activities in various SM malls all over the country. These activities include cooking demonstrations, regional food fairs, exclusive dining deals and the SM Supermarket Chefs Showdown.
In a press statement, SM Supermalls said brick-and-mortar establishments continue to be a venue for shopping for most Filipinos, compared to other countries, where online shopping is now the rule rather than the exception.
With over 70 malls nationwide, SM continues to serve as a venue for meaningful family bonding moments where everyone can indulge in extraordinary malling experiences, such as bowling, ice skating, watching movies, pampering sessions or simply having fun with the kids in air-conditioned comfort.
“Malls have become the modern day plaza and safe community spaces for families and friends to share moments together through shopping, dining and fun experiences. SM’s partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT) celebrates the best of the Philippines through a range of fun fairs and fiestas,” said Steven Tan, chief operating officer of SM Supermalls.
The campaign’s first leg invites mall goers to experience malling like never before at SM. Local celebrities and chefs will show off how they cook Filipino food favorites during culinary demonstrations. Shoppers can also travel across the regions with local dishes and delicacies featured at the regional food fairs, or score exclusive dining deals in participating restaurants. Aspiring local chefs will also compete at the SM Supermarket Chefs Showdown featuring Chefs Myrna Segismundo and Jill Sandique. The campaign lasts until May 26, 2019, in select malls nationwide.
The DOT has been partnering with the private sector to encourage more foreign and domestic tourists to travel in and around the Philippines. The agency’s goal is to attract 12 million foreign tourists to visit the Philippines, and over 89.2 million domestic travelers by 2022.
Its other partners in various foreign and domestic tourism campaigns are Cebu Pacific, Jollibee, Bench and Philippine Airlines.
SM Supermalls, which also operates eight malls in China, is a unit of the publicly listed SM Prime Holdings Inc. Shares of SM Prime closed at P39.10 per share on Friday, May 17, up 3 percent from Thursday’s close of P37.95 per share.
Image credits: Contributed Photo