Manila outperforms 15 Asian cities in 'shopping' index

Tourists traveling in the Philippines not only visit the country for its natural wonders or historic sites but also to do some shopping, a new study shows.

The Philippine capital city of Manila outperformed almost 15 Asian cities in the Economist Intelligence Unit's new "Globe Shopper Index Asia-Pacific" report.

Manila was ranked 11th out of 25 overall, with a score of 51.5 index points on five categories deemed important to shopping travelers.

These are the variety of shops, affordability of products, convenience, hotels and transport, as well as culture and climate.

It followed the top 10 Asian-Pacific shopping cities namely Hongkong, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Sydney, Bangkok, Tokyo, Seoul and Delhi.

"Geographically, spiritually and culturally set apart from mainland Southeast Asia, Manila can feel different than the rest of Asia," the report said.

"Shoppers will admire colonial architecture, stunning stone churches and lively town plazas as they stroll between shops," it added.

Manila's best performance is in affordability, where it ranked 8th. It also landed among the top Asia-Pacific cities in terms of convenience, sharing the 10th spot with Mumbai.

"Relaxed visa regulations make it easy to enter the country, while the city offers both affordable dining and public transport," the report said.

Manila posted a slightly weaker performance in the culture and climate sub-index, where it ranked 11th, and hotels and transport, 16th.

Its worst performance, however, is in the shops sub-index, where it ranked 18th. "Manila does not offer a wide range of international brands," the report said.

The study uses data from a variety of sources collected between January and February 2012.

Cities were scored based on the qualitative and quantitative assessments using standardized values on a scale of zero to 100.

"[S]hopping plays an integral part in Asian tourism," the report said, as it highlighted an "inherent dichotomy" in the emerging term "shopping tourism."

"Shopping, on the one hand, for all the activities associated with it, is fundamentally about the acquisition of goods or services... Tourism, on the other hand, is about obtaining experiences," it added.

"Shopping tourism, then, to put it at its most basic, is about what you get and how it feels to get it," the report noted.