Findings in tourism and retail shopping research discussed at the 5th IFT-BU E-Conference

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The 5th Annual E-Conference between IFT Tourism Research Centre (ITRC) and the School of Tourism of Bournemouth University, UK (BU) was held last Thursday (10 April) and was attended by about 50 participants from the retail industry, mall operation and management field as well as academia and students. The annual e-conference is so called because the meeting takes place via online video during which research scholars from both institutions share their latest research findings and ideas. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Tourism and Retail Shopping - Practical and theoretical research insights from Macao and the UK” which addressed the increasing convergence between tourism and retail shopping as leisure activities.

During this year’s conference, Dr. Ruth Yeung of IFT revealed the major underlying factors that attract Mainland Chinese tourists to shop in Macao. These include social and leisure factors as well as product attributes like fashionable and good value. Ms. Joey Sou and Dr. Thea Vinnicombe, also from IFT, examined the spending behaviour of Mainland Chinese tourists and segmented them by expenditure. Their results showed that heavy spenders were highly distinguishable from other segments on the basis on higher income, longer length of stay, tendency to travel on package tours and place of residence. For their part, IFT researchers Ms. Catherine Li and Dr. Anthony Wong discussed their research findings on service attributes that enhance Chinese shoppers’ shopping experience in casino shopping malls, which include shopping mall assortment, shopping mall environment and shopping convenience. 

For their part, researchers from Bournemouth University shared interesting developments in tourism and retail shopping. Dr. Charles McIntyre and Mr. Nick Greenwood, for example, revealed how atmospherics and the design of gaming and shopping spaces exert tremendous influence on shopper behavior.  Dr. Philip Long explored the relationship between the use of music, place identity, tourism and retail. He challenged Macao colleagues to help identify what type of music best represents its unique identity. Lastly, Dr. Jeff Bray underscored how growing concern for ethical considerations now impacts upon consumers’ purchase decisions.

About the IFT-BU E-Conference series

The annual IFT-BU E-Conference is one of several activities manifesting the growing international research collaboration between the two institutions. Last year, IFT co-organized with BU the 2013 International Conference on Events, held at Bournemouth’s UK campus. The School of Tourism at BU is a world-leader in tourism research and a leading provider of tourism management courses. ITRC is a research and development unit of the IFT which serves as a knowledge resource and public policy think-tank for members of the tourism and hospitality industries, relevant government agencies, and the general public and as a knowledge provider for tourism and hospitality related research in Macao and the region.