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Expert: Retailers Not Adapting To Meet Cruise Tourist Spending Needs

Expert: Retailers Not Adapting To Meet Cruise Tourist  Spending Needs
November 08
00:38 2014

Globally cruising is increasing. However, some tourist destinations and businesses are not seeing corresponding lifts in passenger spending.

International consultancy firm, First Retail Group managing director, Chris Wilkinson, believes this is because retailers are not adapting their range and offer to meet this new market.

Mr Wilkinson made these comments while speaking at a recent cruise sector symposium in Auckland that was organised by stakeholders in the Pacific cruise sector.

According to First Retail’s presentation, the biggest challenges include repeat passengers tiring of traditional offers and poor on-ground experience.

Mr Wilkinson said if businesses and town centres didn’t address these issues, they would miss significant commercial opportunities.

“Many people are now on their second cruise into the Pacific and have already purchased traditional souvenir items.

“Their needs and expectations are changing which meant retailers must adapt with a highly strategic offer that centred on ‘experiential retailing’ according to First Retail’s research.”

 

The Fijian potential

Mr Wilkinson believes Fijian businesses are well-placed to benefit from growth in cruise tourism.

The retailing expert outlined opportunities driven by larger ships, greater frequency and consumer demand.

This was reinforced by industry data showing strong year on year increases in passenger numbers and new mega-ships entering service.

But Mr Wilkinson said Fiji’s position in the middle of a cruise meant it had to work harder to encourage spending.

“Passengers are increasingly restrained with discretionary spending,” he explained.

“The offer now needs to be smarter and engage customers on a whole new level in order to see people part with their money”

Poor quality ground transportation and touts are other aspects Mr Wilkinson singled out as factors that affect perspective and appeal for a destination.

“Reduced mobility for many of the passengers meant high-floor coaches were not always suitable as town shuttles,” he said.

“Instead, operators must adapt with lower buses that can accommodate wheelchairs and mobility scooters – encouraging passengers to venture shore-side.”

Mr Wilkinson further suggested councils and Police need to adopt a firm but fair stance with taxi or street vendors to ensure passengers were not intimidated.

“Visitors expect a relaxing and hospitable experience. Fiji has managed this well, however, it is a situation that needs to be monitored carefully to ensure consistency.”

Feedback:  rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 

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