The Tourism – Retail Investment industry serves as an excellent opportunity for countries of all economic backgrounds to grow, as tourist numbers have continued to rise in the past few years. Here, RLI takes a look at some of the reasons as to why now is the perfect opportunity to harness the economic potential of retail, hospitality and tourism and highlight some of the best projects from around the world that portray new trends and prospects in the sector.

Over the decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and deepening diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. Modern tourism is closely linked to development and encompasses a growing number of new destinations. These dynamics have turned tourism into a key driver for socioeconomic progress.

According to the World Tourism Organization’s (UNTWO) ‘Tourism Highlights 2018 Edition’, today the business of volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, food products or automobiles. Tourism has become one of the major players in international commerce, and represents at the same time one of the main income sources for many developing countries. This growth goes hand in hand with an increasing diversification and competition among destinations. This global spread of tourism in industrialised and developed states has produced economic and employment benefits in many related sectors from construction to agriculture or telecommunications.

Area 15
Area 15

This global spread of tourism in industrialised and developed states has produced economic and employment benefits in many related sectors from construction to agriculture or telecommunications. The opportunity to expand and strengthen local economies through tourism – retail investment is an option for most regions. However, this growth is a double edged sword – the industry today is full of opportunities, but this also involves adapting to continuously evolving new challenges and an increase in global competition. Every destination needs to be constantly learning and reinventing itself in order to maintain its sustainability, dynamism and relatability. There is a constant, ongoing need to identify and explore growing outbound markets and tap into emerging opportunities.

A white paper from luxury powerhouse Chalhoub Group entitled ‘Luxury Travel and Retail: What does the Future Hold for the GCC?’ describes how travel is on the rise and travelers are shopping while abroad — however that’s only part of the story. Driving even more potential for luxury retailers is a whole host of changes from within the GCC and the wider world that make these destinations more attractive than ever to travellers. These changes span from shifts in visa restrictions and growing entertainment offerings to more ecoaware and environmentally friendly experiences suitable for a wide audience. Broadly accommodating these changes and raising global awareness will mean an increase in the number of travelers visiting the GCC region with significant spending power.

An upcoming release from Future Market Insights titled ‘Tourism Market: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2014 – 2020’, announces that increasing per capita income is driving the growth of global tourism market leading to continuous growth in international tourism. Over the last five years, the tourism market in emerging economies, especially countries in South America and Asia have driven the global tourism market. Compared to a decade ago, the global tourism market has undergone a lot of changes. Emerging economies now account for more market share as compared to developed economies. As per International Travel Association (ITA), the number of international tourists arrivals in the US is expected to grow from 69.8 million in 2013 to 83.8 million by 2018.

The insight continues, saying that the global tourism market is segmented on the basis of type, industry products, activities involved and geography. On the basis of type, international tourism and domestic/local tourism are the two major types of tourism market. Along with it, on the basis of purpose of travel or tourism the market for global tourism is segmented into adventure tourism, leisure business travel, conference of seminar travel, business tourism, visiting relatives and friends.

The companies providing tourism services offer various products and services to their customer. Thus, the industry products included in the global tourism industry are traveller accommodations, travel arrangement and reservations, air transportation, other local transport such as car rental, food and beverage establishments, recreation and entertainment, gasoline and other retail activities.

Further, the industry activities considered within the global tourism market include traveller accommodation services, providing hospitality services to international tourists, airline operation, automotive rental, travel agent and tour arrangement services. Countries such as the US, Germany and France are popular destinations for global tourism; but in recent years other less well known countries from Asia and Africa have emerged as destinations of interest for international travellers. Thus, tourism service providers are realigning their services in order to reap the economic benefits from this trend.


Edinburgh St James will be a world renowned, retailled, mixed-use destination for the future. Boasting a world-class retail, leisure, hotel and residential offer and injecting over £1bn of investment into the city, the scheme will strengthen Edinburgh’s global standing by transforming the city’s east end. Now becoming an inspiring, attractive and vibrant destination for people to live, shop, experience and play. Being developed by Nuveen, Edinburgh St James will provide a diverse and appealing shopping experience comprising well-known national and international high street, aspirational and high-end brands, which cater to a diverse range of consumers, from locals, to tourists and visitors from the rest of the UK, Europe and the world. The project is due to open in October next year, with the final elements of the scheme launching in 2021.

Currently in stages of development by lead developer Quintain, the Wembley Park scheme began through Quintain’s acquisition of approximately 44 acres of exhibition land and car parks surrounding the National Stadium in 2002. Subsequent land purchases have expanded our ownership to 85 acres, creating one of the largest urban regeneration sites in Europe. Through a series of further planning permissions Quintain currently has consent for a total of 8.8 million square feet of development, including 7,000 homes. The first 1,000 new homes are already completed, alongside a West-End standard 361-bedroom Hilton Hotel, fantastic new public spaces and London Designer Outlet, bringing over 70 shops and restaurants alongside a multi-screen cinema and children’s playpark to Wembley.


With current investment standing at over £1bn, the next stage will see 5,000 further homes developed, along with a further 180,000sq ft of retail space over 42 units. The additional retail and leisure space will help cement Wembley Park’s fast-growing status as an exciting new destination to rival the very best areas of London.

intu Costa del Sol is by developer intu set to redefine the model of the retail industry. It is set to be an extraordinary place where the most demanding guests will meet the most exciting experiences. The scheme will bring together the best in leisure, retail, dining, hotels, events, conferences, sports and well-being whilst all set among beautiful public spaces, intu Costa del Sol will be a resort like no other when it opens its doors. To be located in Torremolinos, the scheme will feature over 20 attractions including a wave pool and aquarium and more than 25,000sq ft of gardens and parks. Meanwhile in Italy, developer Aedes SIIQ is working on Caselle Open Mall, an innovative and unique upcoming scheme. Highly appealing, thanks to its real town feel of indoor and outdoor spaces, it will be a venue where visitors will be able to enjoy an authentic shopping experience.

Painstakingly designed, the mall combines contemporary hi-tech elements with natural stone walkways, facades and light, airy porticoes subtly reminiscent of classic Turin streets and squares. The project features 114,000sq m of GLA, with 83,900 sqm is dedicated to retail, 18,700 sqm is set aside for entertainment concepts and an additional 9,400sq m for F&B and 2,000sq m of service space. The project is due to open in Q3 2021. Area15 is being designed to be an experiential retail and entertainment complex offering live events, immersive activations, art installations and much more. The project is a joint venture between real estate development firm Fisher Brothers, a diversified national real estate firm and creative agency Beneville Studios, both of which are based in New York. It will offer up to 126,000sq ft of customised tenant space for a curated collection of experiential and retail businesses; 68,000sq ft of leasable ground floor space and up to 58,000sq ft of mezzanine space. A 40,000sq ft indoor and outdoor event space, suited for live music, festivals, corporate events and more will be adjacent to the retail and dining options. The scheme is set to open by the end of the year in Las Vegas.


Located on land reclaimed from the Caspian Sea, Caspian Waterfront will be a 120,000sq m entertainment, retail, leisure and dining destination over five floors. A central ‘flame’ tower completes eight angled glass façades inspired by the eight-pointed star on Azerbaijan’s national emblem. Chapman Taylor designed the original building as a congress centre in 2007, and now the building is being repurposed, keeping the same design, to include entertainment, leisure, F&B and retail facilities. Chapman Taylor’s London studio was appointed to provide the interior design services in 2016, with the complex on course to open in 2019. The scheme is being developed by Pasha Construction. Jewel Changi Airport, developed in partnership by Changi Airport Group and CapitaLand opened on 17 April this year, and the project first began with the need to expand the capacity of Changi Airport’s Terminal 1 as well as its open-air carpark.

This led to a strategic vision with the conception of Jewel as a gem of a destination, to augment Changi Airport’s position as a leading air hub globally and boost its appeal as a stopover destination for travellers. The stunning result is a mixed-use development with gardens, attractions, retail, dining, a hotel and facilities to support airport operations. This integration of nature with engineering marvels housed under a striking glass and steel dome is poised to make headlines. Dubai developer Meydan has said its Meydan One mall development is on track for an early 2020 launch following construction progress. The project, which includes the largest dancing fountain in the world, a 1km ski slope, heritage village and beach, was first announced in August 2015. When finished, the mall will host 580 retail outlets split between 30 anchor stores, 80 flagship luxury stores, 190 dining outlets and a 13,200sqm hypermarket.

The retail footprint will be spread across indoor and outdoor spaces centres by a retractable atrium space named the Canyon, measuring 160m by 100m which will be usable for events. Key features of the wider development include a civic plaza able to host 30,000 people and dancing fountains that fire water 380m into the air. An 8.2km lagoon will also feature 500m of beaches, water sport activities and a beach club, while an experience zone will offer a sports arena and various courts. Meydan said an innovation district offering incentives for entrepreneurs, a 21-screen cinema, a 20-outlet food court, hotels and hotel apartments and 12,000 parking spaces would be among the other features.