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Tianjin tax-free stores to open later this year

By Zhao Yinan and Zhang Min in Tianjin | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-08 09:31

Cruise passengers in Tianjin municipality will be able to shop at tax-free stores by the end of the year, the top tourism official in the port city said on Monday.

The policy is one of many being introduced by the coastal city to boost what the government calls the "aero-amphibious" tourism industry - visitors who travel by caravans, passenger liners and helicopters.

She Qingwen, the top tourism official in Tianjin, said the first group of tax-free stores is expected to be set up this year in Dongjiang, a homeport for passenger liners in Tianjin.

Dongjiang is the largest homeport for international cruises in North China and served as a stopping point for 36 passenger liners last year, accommodating more than 120,000 travelers. The city served as a stopping point for 82 cruise passenger liners from 2010 to 2012.

He expects the industry to boom this year, after the tax-free stores and other incentives are introduced.

He estimated more than 90 passenger liners will set off from Tianjin for destinations worldwide, with at least 300,000 tourists on board.

"Among these travelers, about 60 percent of the passengers will come from Beijing, including travelers from other places to the capital and Beijing locals," he said.

The city is working with other coastal cities around Bohai Bay to set up a combined tourism line, which would allow cruise passengers to take a private car onboard.

Li Juan, who took a passenger liner trip to Japan in 2010, said she would be interested in trying a combined trip.

"I have a baby, so it might be inconvenient to travel by air. On a cruise, kids have much more room to walk around. Besides, to take a car onboard with us is also convenient for a family with kids," Li said.

She Qingwen, the top tourism official in Tianjin, said the passenger line business is very profitable for the local government and can help grow the equipment manufacturing industry.

"Tourism and the equipment manufacturing industry complement and promote each other," he said.

Tianjin tax-free stores to open later this year

Tianjin tax-free stores to open later this year

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