Mall operators push for Davao City as Philippines's shopping hot spot

Subscribe Now February 10, 2014 at 08:01am

Five of the biggest mall operators here have banded together to promote the city as "the shopping destination of the Philippines," by holding a monthlong festival, dubbed "The Big Davao Fun Sale [TBDFS]."

For one full month—from March 14 to April 16—the Ayala Abreeza, Gaisano and GMall, NCCC Mall, Robinsons, and SM City Davao and SM Lanang Premier will be slashing the prices of their merchandise by as much as 80 percent.

Patterned after the Great Singapore Sale, TBDFS will commence on the annual Araw ng Davao, which celebrates the city’s foundation day.

The monthlong event is expected to help increase visitor arrivals to Davao City by 15 percent, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT) regional office.

In an interview with the BUSINESSMIRROR, Tjader Regis, assistant vice president (AVP) for marketing of the NCCC Mall and president of the newly formed TBDFS Retailers Association, said, “Every week there will be different themes [for the sale] and, per week, one particular mall will be responsible for an event, like a party.”

From March 14 to 16, it will be a general sale of merchandise; March 16 to 23, health and beauty items; March 24 to 30, electronics and gadgets; March 31 to April 6, home and travel; and April 7 to 16, active lifestyle and fashion. For the duration of the event, dining items, crafts, fruits and flowers will have an ongoing sale.

Most of the malls, such as NCCC and SM, are eyeing a 15-percent increase in sales during the period. The retailers association hopes that other members of Davao City’s tourism industry, such as hotels, resorts and restaurants, will also support the event to encourage tourists to experience other facets of the city.

“What will make the ‘Davao Fun Sale’ different [is this:] It’s the whole city that’s moving. We’ve also invited the hotels and resorts to support this. We’re behind the tagline of Davao City, ‘Life is here,’ so it’s not just shopping. If you want to spend your day on Samal Island, [resorts there] will also go on sale. We’re also pushing the cuisine of Davao; we’re popular for seafood. So it’s about experiencing Davao City as a whole,” explained Debbie Go, SM Supermalls AVP for Operations- Mindanao.

The event is also supported by Cebu Pacific, Silk Air and Singapore Airlines, which are expected to offer special air fare promos; and by Mabuhay Taxi, which has rolled out 150 black cabs sporting the “fun sale” logo on their bodies.

In the news brie_ ng that launched the event, Tourism Assistant Secretary for Mindanao Arturo Boncato Jr. predicted that visitor arrivals would reach 115,000 during the monthlong shopping festival, with tourists coming in from Mindanao, the Visayas and Manila. The city’s air connections were recently boosted by the inauguration of a Cebu Pacific fight between Davao and Bacolod City, Negros Occidental province.

In March and April 2013 arrivals in Davao City reached 100,000. During the Araw ng Davao, the city’s malls usually go on sale for a week. But the retailers association underscored that TBDFS was the first time the mall operators are working as a group toward a common tourism goal.

Regis said other retailers that are not members of the TBDFS association have already been “asking how they could get involved in this [event]. If we can stimulate that and get the ball rolling, they will have their own programs, efforts [and] offers, and collectively take all those efforts, [this sale] is going to be huge! When that happens, not even Cebu and Manila will have kind that of [an] offer, if you’re talking about a coordinated sale within that one month. So yes, Davao has a chance to earn that title as ‘shopping destination of the Philippines,’ where all of us—malls and retailers—are working together for this event.”

For his part, Luigi Escano, operations manager of Ayala Abreeza, said the establishment is “excited to participate in this unprecedented citywide event and looks forward to its institutionalization, so that Davao City will be in the radar of global tourists and shoppers. Expect that Abreeza will be coming up with lots of surprises to make the first-ever Big Davao Sale truly fun!”


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