From 15 to 16 April, Value Retail – the creator and operator of the Collection of Villages across Europe and China – joined travel and tourism industry leaders from around the world for the 15th annual WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) Global Summit.
“Tourists have more choice than they’ve ever had before,” says Desiree Bollier, Chief Executive, Value Retail Management. “To attract the global traveller and stand out in an increasingly competitive market, it’s more important than ever to welcome guests with inspiring attractions and outstanding hospitality at every touch point. Tourism represents a huge opportunity for the global economy and with a joined-up approach from both the public and private sectors, the benefits will be wide-reaching.”
At the summit, Desiree Bollier participated in a panel discussion entitled ‘Focus on Cities – Reinvention, Differentiation and Inspiration’, which focused on the roles of cities in driving travel and tourism. The panel – which included speakers such as Isabel Borrego, Secretary of State for Tourism, Spain, and Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S Travel Association – discussed, amongst other topics, how cities could support the growth of businesses through short and long-term planning and investment.
The Summit united representatives from both public and private sectors to discuss how investment in infrastructure, people and key policies could support the growing travel and tourism sector – which, according to the WTTC, now accounts for 9.5% of global GDP. Additionally, for 2015, the UNWTO forecasts international tourism to grow by 3% to 4%, further contributing to the economic recovery.
Value Retail has been at the forefront of the shopping tourism industry since Bicester Village opened in 1995. It has formed strategic partnerships with travel and tourism partners around the world to drive visitation to the ten Villages across Europe and China, which are now recognised as tourist destinations in their own right. The Villages are each located close to key tourism cities including London, Dublin, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Bologna, Brussels, Antwerp, Cologne, Frankfurt, and Munich, and, as of May 2014, Suzhou in China, meaning they are natural additions to travel itineraries for both business and leisure. In 2014, total tax refunded (non-EU) sales across the Collection were up by 16% compared to the previous year, culminating in (36) consecutive quarters – without exception – of double digit growth.
Value Retail recently announced a new partnership with Ctrip – China’s leading online travel agency, which accounts for 50% of the total online travel service market in China – that will make the luxury Village experience accessible to an even wider Chinese audience. Value Retail has partnerships with WTTC members including Hilton, Iberia and China Eastern.
Value Retail also has a growing Business Tourism (MICE) offer. With shopping becoming an increasingly popular activity on business tourism agendas, the ten Villages across Europe and China offer companies an innovative solution for meetings, events, conferences and incentive programmes.