Hotel Online Special Report
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Study Released Examining  the Correlation Between Cultural Tourism and Shopping
 
Further details:
 
WASHINGTON - Dec. 30, 1998--Taubman Centers Inc. (NYSE:TCO), a leading U.S. shopping center developer, and the Tourism Industries office in the U.S. Department of Commerce Wednesday released the results of a study examining the correlation between cultural tourism and shopping.

One of the primary findings of this study is that overseas travelers to the United States who visit cultural attractions (i.e. museums, national parks) tend to spend more time and money during their visit. This finding complements the results of a report on domestic travelers developed by the Travel Industry Association of America which found that, when compared with U.S. travelers in general, those domestic travelers who express an interest in visiting historical and cultural destinations spend more money on their visit and list shopping as one of their planned activities.

This joint project between Taubman Centers and the Department of Commerce is the first time anyone has looked at the correlation between cultural tourism and shopping as it pertains to overseas travelers. For a copy of the study, interested parties should contact Helen Marano, U.S. Department of Commerce at 202/482-4752.

In developing this study, the Department of Commerce, Tourism Industries office used a special custom run of data from its ongoing research program called the In-Flight Survey of International Air Travelers. This program surveys a monthly sample of overseas travelers on the plane after they have visited the United States.

In the most current survey that was used for this study, 48,882 travelers responded. The Tourism Industries office analyzed the data from a custom run relative to the respondents' activities, shopping habits, expenditures, length of stay, traveling companions and accommodations, among other things. In addition to looking at general statistics on overseas travelers, four specific country markets -- Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany and Brazil -- were selected for added insights, as visitors from these countries show the highest incidence of shopping when visiting the United States.

From this, respondents were placed in the following general categories:

  • General Shoppers -- those overseas travelers who indicated that they engaged in shopping as an activity during their trip to the United States; and
  • American Culturalist Shoppers -- overseas travelers who engaged in both shopping and cultural and/or ethnic heritage tourism activities during their visit to the United States or have engaged in at least two cultural/heritage-related activities (gone to a museum, concert, visited a national park, etc.). 
Some of the study's more significant findings are the following:
 
Nearly nine out of 10 (89%) of overseas travelers to the United States report that they engaged in shopping as an activity during their trip to the United States. This represents a 4 percent increase over 1995 figures and is comparable to 1996 reporting levels. In terms of hard numbers, this translates to 21,533,000 overseas travelers who enjoyed some form of shopping during their visit to the United States.
When asked to indicate what cultural and/or heritage-related activities they experienced during their U.S. visit, overseas travelers who also shopped identified the following (in rank order): visit to historical places (35%); visits to cultural heritage sites (21%); visit to national parks (21%); art gallery/museum visit (20%); attending a concert, play or musical theater (15%); visits to ethnic heritage sites (6%); visits to American Indian communities (5%).
Overseas travelers who engaged in both shopping and cultural and/or ethnic heritage tourism activities (culturalist shoppers) stay longer in the United States -- nearly a week longer -- than general shoppers.
A significantly higher proportion of culturalist shoppers (29%) are first-time visitors to the United States.
The culturalist shopper has visited more places in the United States than the general shopper, averaging two states and nearly three destinations.
The top five state destinations for general shoppers were California (27%), Florida (25%), New York (21%), Hawaii (14%) and Nevada (10%). Culturalist shoppers favored New York as their No. 1 travel destination (at 32% for a five-point margin of preference). California trailed only marginally at 31%, while Florida and Hawaii lost ground as a destination for the culturalist shopper as compared with general shoppers (4 percentage points drop for each).
More than nine out of 10 culturalist shoppers cited vacation, leisure or visiting friends and/or relatives as the primary purpose of their trip, compared with 81% of the general shoppers.
On average, culturalist shoppers spent 12% more than general shoppers, reflective of their longer stay in the United States and activity levels in combination with shopping. Even in specific expenditure categories, compared with general shoppers, culturalist shoppers spent 23% more on food and beverages, 22% more on entertainment and 14% more on lodging, for example.
Nearly one-fourth (24%) of both segments of travelers (culturalist shoppers and general shoppers) used a package for their travel arrangements, but the culturalist shopper averaged nearly two more nights in prepaid lodging (nine nights vs. seven nights).
Culturalist shoppers booked their trip further ahead of the general shopper (91 days on average as compared with 74 days for the general shopper).

In looking at the four specific country markets, some of the study's most interesting findings are the following:

  • More than any other group studied, Brazilians spent a larger portion of their money on gifts and souvenirs, with nearly one-third of their total expenditures going to this single category. On the average, Brazilian shoppers spent about $58 per day of their visit on gifts and souvenirs.
  • As compared with the other four countries studied, the Japanese were the biggest shoppers with nearly all (94%) reporting that they had shopped while in the United States.
  • Brazilian shoppers visited the United States more often than the other four countries studied (averaging 7.2 visits over the past five years), followed closely by the British shoppers who averaged 5.6 visits over the past five years.
  • Brazilian shoppers reported the highest average household income of the four countries studied, with an average annual household income of $94,000 (Japanese shoppers reported the second-highest average annual household income at $82,100).
  • Germans reported the longest length of stay with 17.3 days, 1.3 days longer than the British (who reported the next-longest length of stay). This was one week longer than the Japanese who positioned third (at eight days) in terms of length of stay.
  • While visitors to the United States averaged 1.7 states and 2.3 destinations during their trip, German visitors reported the highest number of states visited (1.9) and the most destinations (3.0). Also, German culturalist shoppers reported visiting 3.5 destinations during their visit.
  • Of the four countries studied, the Japanese were more likely to be first-time travelers to the United States. Thirty-three percent of Japanese respondents were new-to-market travelers. This might explain why the Japanese respondents were more likely to purchase organized travel packages (about half had booked a package, as compared with 22% of the Brazilians, the next segment most likely to book a package) and why more than six out of 10 Japanese travelers relied on a travel agent to book their trip.
  • Florida was the most popular destination for U.K. travelers, as with the Brazilians and Germans. However, when shopping was combined with cultural activities, Florida's lead was minimized with California and New York gaining strength to position themselves right behind Florida.
  • British shoppers were much more likely to use cash and travelers checks (56% of those surveyed) to pay for their expenditures than any other group.
 
German tourists differed from other visitors to the United States in that:
  • German tourists were more apt to look at a variety of resources to book their trip to the United States. While their first choice was travel agencies (at 45%), they had the strongest tendency to use state and/or city travel offices, friends and/or relatives and travel guides to help plan their trip.
  • Of the four countries studied, Germans were the least likely (at 13% of those surveyed) to book a travel package for their visit to the United States.
  • Germans reported the longest length of stay with 17.3 days, 1.3 days longer than the British (who reported the next longest length of stay). In any case, this was one week longer than the Japanese, who positioned third (at eight days) in terms of length of stay. However, Germans were more apt to be staying with families or friends when they visited the United States. More than one-third of German travelers stayed in a private home during their trip to the United States, a similar proportion to the British.
  • While visitors to the United States averaged 1.7 states and 2.3 destinations during their trip, German visitors reported the highest number of states visited (1.9) and the most destinations (3.0). Also, German culturalist shoppers reported visiting 3.5 destinations during their visit.
  • The average annual household income of German shoppers was $77,500 and, along with Brazilian shoppers, Germans were most likely to pay for their trip expenditures with a credit card.
 
British tourists differed from other visitors to the United States in that:
  • Florida was the most popular destination for UK travelers, as with Brazilians and Germans. However, when shopping was combined with cultural activities, Florida's lead was minimized with California and New York gaining strength to position themselves right behind Florida.
  •  British culturalist shoppers planned their trips the furthest out, averaging 108 days in advance and booking their airline reservations on an average 83 days in advance. British cultural shoppers stretched these averages with the longest advance trip planning period of 120 days.
  •  Both British (at 15%) and German (at 13%) travelers were least likely to use a travel package for their trip to the United States.
  •  Of the countries studied, British culturalist shoppers were among the most frequent travelers to the United States having averaged 5.6 visits in the past five years.
  •  The British (at 16 days) and Germans (at 17.3 days) reported the longest length of stay of the four countries studied. Both of these averages lengthened to 20 days or more for the culturalist shopper segments of both country groups.
  •  Four out of 10 British visitors (40%) stayed in a private home during their visit, as compared with nine out of 10 Japanese and Brazilian tourists who used a hotel or motel for their lodging.
  •  British shoppers were much more likely to use cash and travelers checks (56% of those surveyed) to pay for their expenditures than any other group.
 
 
Japanese tourists differed from other visitors to the United States in that:
  • As compared with the other four countries studied, the Japanese were the biggest shoppers with nearly all (94%) reporting that they had shopped while in the United States.
  • Of the four countries studied, the Japanese were more likely to be first-time travelers to the United States. Thirty three percent of Japanese respondents were new-to-market travelers. This might explain why the Japanese respondents were more likely to purchase organized travel packages (about half had booked a package, as compared with 22% of the Brazilians, the next highest country group who booked a package) and why more than six out of ten of Japanese travelers relied on a travel agent to book their trip.
  • Japanese travelers who visited the United States reported the largest average party size of more than two individuals over the other countries analyzed.
  • The vast majority of Japanese and Brazilian tourists (nine out of ten) used a hotel or motel for their lodging, while four in ten of British and German culturalist shoppers reported staying in a private home during their visit to the United States.
  • The average annual household income of Japanese shoppers ($82,100) was second only to Brazilian shoppers (with an average annual household income of $94,000).
  • Japanese shoppers -- more than any other group -- were much more likely to pay for their trip expenditures in cash (46%).
 
 
Brazilian tourists differed from other visitors to the United States in that:
  • For Brazilian general shoppers, Florida was the number one tourist destination. However, culturalist shoppers from Brazil, like culturalist shoppers in general, favored New York as their destination.
  • Of the four countries studied, Brazilians reported the shortest advance booking time, averaging 56 days and making their airline reservations less than one month out from the trip.
  • Brazilian shoppers visited the United States more often than the other four countries studied (averaging 7.2 visits over the past five years), followed closely by the British shoppers who averaged 5.6 visits over the past five years.
  • The vast majority of Brazilian and Japanese tourists (nine out of ten) used a hotel or motel for their lodging, while four in ten British and German culturalist shoppers reported staying in a private home during their visit to the United States.
  • Brazilian shoppers reported the highest average household income of the four countries studied, with an average annual household income of $94,000. This may be correlated to the finding that over three-quarters of the Brazilian visitors reported their occupation as either a manager/executive or as a professional/technical.
  • More than any other country group studied, Brazilian shoppers spent a larger portion of their money on gifts and souvenirs, with nearly one-third of their total expenditures going to this single category. On the average, Brazilian shoppers spent about $58 per day of their visit on gifts and souvenirs.
 

Recognizing an opportunity to attract international shoppers, Taubman Centers Inc. centers have developed a variety of tourism programs that combine shopping with visits to local cultural destinations. Part of the company's popular World Class Shopping program, these new cultural tourism programs are being introduced at many of the most popular shopping destinations in the country.

In addition to hotel accommodations and special amenities at their respective shopping centers, several Taubman centers have partnered with the finest museums, historic/cultural attractions, theaters and tourist destinations in their communities to offer special discounts for World Class Shopping participants.

Among Taubman centers that have well-developed programs for tourists are: Beverly Center (Los Angeles), The Falls (Miami), Columbus City Center (Columbus, Ohio) and, opening in spring `99, Taubman's newest shopping center, MacArthur Center in Norfolk, Va.

"Our instincts, based on what we have seen in our shopping centers, told us that there was merit in paying special attention to the international traveler who enjoyed visiting cultural attractions in the communities surrounding our centers," explained Karen Mac Donald, director of communications for Taubman Centers.

"Being able to bring together in one travel package everything our shopping centers have to offer with local cultural institutions is a win-win situation for everyone involved -- the shopping center, the cultural attraction and the overseas traveler."

"One of the more significant insights we have gained from this research study is that overseas shoppers who also visit cultural and ethnic heritage sites or experience our country's cultural offerings tend to stay longer and spend more when they are here in the U.S.," says Leslie Doggett, deputy assistant secretary of commerce for tourism industries of the U.S. Department of Commerce. "For this reason, programs which merge these interests with shopping should prove attractive to overseas visitors."

Taubman Centers operates shopping centers in the following markets:

-- West: Beverly Center (Los Angeles); Paseo Nuevo and La Cumbre (Santa Barbara, Calif.); Hilltop (Richmond, Calif.); Sunvalley (Concord, Calif.); Stoneridge (Pleasanton, Calif.); Biltmore Fashion Park (Phoenix); Meadowood (Reno, Nev.); and Cherry Creek (Denver).

-- Midwest: Woodfield (Chicago); Great Lakes Crossing (Auburn Hills, Mich.); Fairlane Town Center (Dearborn, Mich.); Woodland (Grand Rapids, Mich.); Briarwood (Ann Arbor, Mich.); Lakeside (Sterling Heights, Mich.); Twelve Oaks (Novi, Mich.); and Columbus City Center and The Mall at Tuttle Crossing (Columbus, Ohio).

-- East: The Mall at Short Hills (Short Hills, N.J., just outside New York); Stamford Town Center (Stamford, Conn.); Westfarms (Farmington, Conn.); Lakeforest (Gaithersburg, Md.); Marley Station (Glen Burnie, Md.); Fair Oaks (Fairfax, Va.); Regency Square (Richmond, Va.); MacArthur Center (opening March 12, 1999 in Norfolk); and The Falls (Miami).

Taubman Centers, based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., was founded in 1950 and is one of the leading real estate developers in the United States. It is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TCO. Taubman is a member of the Travel Industry Association (TIA) and the National Tour Association (NTA). To obtain more information about any of Taubman's 27 premier shopping centers, call 248/258-7469 or visit its Web site: http://www.taubman.com.

###
 
Contact:
Taubman Centers Inc., Bloomfield Hills
Karen Mac Donald, 248/258-7469
kmacdonald@taubman.com
or
U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C.
Helen Marano, 202/482-4752
helen_marano@ita.doc.gov
or
The Blaze Company, Venice, Calif.
John Giurini/Stacey Dobbins, 310/450-6060
blaze@power.net
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Also See: Survey Says Mall of America is Major Draw for Conventions / March 1998 
The Forum Shops at Caesars Expands, Adding Re-Creation of Roman Pantheon / May 1998 
Slower Growth for Duty Free Sales / PATA / June 1998 

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