To make ‘Incredible India’ even more incredible, it is important that tourists make a beeline to the country not just for her culture, and heritage, but also look at it as a shopping destination.
In today’s session at India Shopping Centre Forum 2011, chairperson, Dharmesh Jain, CMD, Nirmal Group, talks on how to make India a world class shopping destination. The key point that emerged from this discussion was the fact that tourism and shopping work hand-in-hand.
While countries like Hong Kong and Singapore are thronged by tourists not for sight-seeing, but for the shopping experience, India’s got everything, and all we need to add on to this bouquet of experiences is a great shopping experience.
The Ministry of Tourism, extending full support to the Shopping Centre Association of India (SCAI), put up a proposal to have shopping carnivals to make holidaying in India a unique experience. “These carnivals should be properly planned over a fixed calendar period for five years, so that the tourism boards of other nations can be approached for collaboration,” said, Roma Singh, representative of the Ministry of Tourism, GOI.
India being a vast country it would be ideal to have not one, but three to four such festivals. Another suggestion that came up during the panel discussion was to partner with travel agencies and airlines to give the tourists exciting offers and incentives during the time of the proposed festivals. Roma Singh added, “Another way of promoting tourism as well as shopping would be to encourage travel writers and journalist to promote the festivals. The Ministry of Tourism will sponsor such writers.”
While a holiday season was agreed upon to be the best time to hold these festivals, there were disagreements on whether it should be the Indian holiday season (from June to July) or the one followed outside the country (i.e. between August and September). Another significant point that came though this discussion was whether the carnivals should be branded or labelled.
Shabnam Singhal, director, Sirius Consultants, said, “If we look at domestic tourists, the ones travelling from tier II and III cities look at shopping at a mall in a metro city as a shopping-abroad experience. Hence, we should device ways to interest them in visiting malls apart from sightseeing.” Shishir Shrivastva, CEO and ED, The Phoenix Mills, felt that cutting-edge experience is an important thing that we need to deliver to the customers who are willing to spend time and money. Better hotel facilities and connectivity to the malls will also boost footfall rate. This will not just help tourism, but also scale up the GDP, increase employment and help project Indian culture on a larger platform.
This session was closely followed by another session on leasing of malls. Presented by Rajneesh Mahajan, VP – leasing, Inorbit Malls, the session focused on the determinants of leasing and going about the process effectively. Mahajan said, “While being objective, it is important for the leasing manager to understand customer behaviour and anticipate impulsive buying.” The key to effective leasing is to understand the correlation between developer’s perspective, customer’s perspective and retailer’s perspective, which combined together leads to
development and growth.
Leasing can influence design, external market forces and circulation, hence, all issues should be dealt with prior to the construction stage. Strategic zoning is crucial as it helps boost sales by around 15 per cent. Depending on the trade density of brands and its sales per sq.ft, space allocation can work wonders for a mall.
The session concluded with key points like maintaining footfall, rental balance, negotiations with the retailers and ample detailed research coming out as the key determinants of effective leasing.
– IndiaRetailing Bureau