Carolyn Feimster

For any travel niche, it is important to keep up with trends and stay ahead of the curve to remain competitive. It is no different with “shopping tourism.” Shopping and dining remain the top travel activities, and this has been embraced by the group travel market. However, tour operators, travel agents and group leaders have to keep finding new experiences to keep their product fresh for their clients.

Department of Commerce statistics confirm that the “Cultural Shopper” stays longer in a destination and spends more money, so many shopping locations have found a way to capitalize on this. Throughout our country are a number of non-traditional shopping venues that embrace their cultural heritage, and the group market is appreciating these fresh experiences. Along the East Coast, three attractions that have always been known for their eclectic shopping, stellar dining options and free entertainment within historical settings have formed an alliance called Historic Shopping & Dining Attractions (HSDA).