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THINK Global Retail: The rise and rise of the tourist dollar


Angela Goodings, Associate Director of Research, discusses the rise in the tourist retail sector and the key drivers of this trend.

Despite episodic economic recessions, terrorist activities and political unrest in many parts of the world, the tourism industry has virtually grown uninterrupted over the last few decades. International tourist arrivals surged more than tenfold from 25 million in 1950 to 277 million in 1980 and passed the 1 billion mark in 2012. By 2030, this figure is expected to reach close to 2 billion as predicted by The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Many tourists arrive at their destination ladled with luggage and an insatiable shopping appetite. In fact, travel retail is among one of the fastest growing retail sectors today. Duty free sales, the key measure of tourist spending, has been expanding at 8.5% per annum for 10 years. According to the retail research agency Conlumino, global duty free sales are set to reach $74bn by 2019, a 51% jump from its 2014 level.


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Angela Goodings

Angela Goodings

Associate Director of Research

Angela's biography