6 things you can do to make the retail sector feel part of the tourism industry

First published on December 9, 2016
Last updated on May 23, 2023
Want to ensure your guests have a great experience? Try this community based approach.

Retailers, traditionally, don’t consider themselves tourism businesses. However, depending on where they are located, they directly benefit from the tourism dollars invested by visitors to their area.

A few facts and figures you might be interested in…….

Did you know that there are 2,066,053 small businesses in Australia (Source Small Business Data Card, Sept 2016)

There are also 273,512 tourism businesses in Australia (Source Tourism Research Australia, June 2015)  (This is a really interesting read by the way!)

That means around 13% of all small businesses in Australia are in tourism!

ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA - 27 January 2015: Rundle Mall looking east with pedestrians in the evening. Rundle Mall is the center of in the Adelaide city and the premier shopping area of South Australia with 23 million visitors annually.
Adelaide Rundle Mall

Is the retail sector considered part of the tourism industry?

According to Destination NSW and most tourism operators it is.

In its broadest sense, the tourism industry is the total of all businesses that directly provide goods or services to facilitate business, pleasure and leisure activities away from the home environment.” (Source Destination NSW)

So why then do many people in the retail sector not consider themselves as being part of the tourism industry?

Perhaps it is because you can no longer readily identify the “tourist”, everyone carries a mobile phone to capture the highlights of their day to post on social media.

It maybe because regional tourism organisations have traditionally done the marketing of a destination and the retail sector have by default benefited, not known about the connection and not see any reason to contribute.


Why is it important to the tourism industry?

A positive customer experience in destination may contribute to the following:

  • Repeat visitation
  • An extended visitor stay
  • Positive social media exposure
  • Offline word of mouth exposure
  • Economic benefit to the destination

Perhaps the solution to change perceptions, lies in a community based approach?

Imagine the possibilities if every one of the 273,512 tourism businesses took it upon themselves to remind 5 local retail businesses of the impact they can have on their local economy – how powerful that would be!!!

So I challenge you to do the following:

  1. Encourage your local tourism organisation to run an awareness campaign. It could be as simple as printing reminder cards that tourism operators could give to the retail sector. That include what gives a great customer experience and how you can work together
  2. Personally invite retail businesses to join your local tourism organisation and explain the benefits to them.
  3. Encourage your visitors to tell retail outlets that they are visiting and if they have enjoyed the experience, say so.
  4. If a retailer is doing a fabulous job, tell them and explain how that benefits everyone.
  5. Explain to them that they are part of the tourism industry and great service will enhance the visitor experience.
  6. Make it your responsibility to remind retail businesses that you visit that their business and service delivery directly impacts the visitors experience and perception of the destination. They can improve the visitors overall experience by:
    1. Providing great customer service
    2. Promoting other businesses and the destination
    3. Offer suggestions based on experience

If you’re asked what’s in it for me, then it’s purely economic, more visitors means more dollars to the destination.

Instead of waiting for change to come from the top, let’s start change at the Tribe with a community based approach.

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