Shop ’til You Drop!

I know! We’ve only just gotten over Christmas and I’m on about shopping already when I should be talking about travel. The problem is of course that travel and shopping are tied at the hip. One of the most popular activities that travelers engage in (and look forward to) when on holiday is shopping — whether that be for local handcrafts or for modern consumer items and up-to-date fashion accessories. There is also this myth that we westerners have cornered the market on shopping, seeing as we invented this thing called consumerism. Nothing could be further from the truth! Of the top ten largest mega malls in the world — none of them are located in the West! The Philippines alone, boast at least three such mega malls which contain over 1,000 shopping units each and we’re not talking about stalls. These are actual up-to-date, modern retail shopping units in air-conditioned shopping centres.

To put these numbers into some kind of perspective, Dundrum Town Centre — Ireland’s’ largest retail complex — has about 160 retail units, so we’re talking about shopping complexes at least six times larger again! Currently, the largest shopping mall in the world is the Dubai Mall, located at the base of the Burj al Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper! With over 1,200 shops, it is 7.5 times larger than Dundrum.

An even larger shopping complex is currently being built in Iran which, when finished, expects to contain 2,500 retail outlets. The West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Canada is currently the largest shopping centre in the West with approximately 800+ outlets. Less than 10 years ago when it opened, it was the largest in the world. It seems shopping as a pastime really has become a global phenomenon. So, the next time you pack your bikini, sun tan lotion and passport, don’t forget to top up on those credit cards!

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