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Duty-free shopping gathers steam in Hainan

By CHEN BOWEN | | Updated: 2023-01-04 19:17
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Customers shop for gold accessories at Haikou International Duty Free City in Haikou, Hainan province, on Oct 28. LUO YUNFEI/CHINA NEWS SERVICE

With enhanced epidemic control measures in place as the winter peak tourism season unfolds in Hainan province, offshore duty-free shopping in the province continues to pick up speed. Merchants have cashed in on the New Year holiday so far.

Average daily sales of duty-free goods on the tropical island have reached 140 million yuan ($20.3 million) during the three-day holiday, with a per-capita shopping spend of 9,816 yuan, bouncing back to the level of the holiday in 2022, according to Haikou Customs.

Since mid-December, average sales exceeded 100 million yuan, a hopeful sign of revival. During the New Year holiday, Haikou Customs processed 422 million yuan in offshore duty-free shopping, 43,000 customers and 476,000 items.

With steady growth in the number of visitors entering Hainan Free Trade Port, the reception volume of each duty-free entity on the island has greatly increased, said Yuan Lin, deputy general manager of China National Service Corp's Sanya International Duty Free Plaza.

There are six duty-free enterprises in Hainan, with 12 offshore duty-free stores, including six in Haikou, four in Sanya, one in Qionghai and one in Wanning scheduled to open this month.

Lu Xiayu, deputy director of the operation and management department of Haikong Global Boutique Duty Free City in Haikou, said that during the week ahead of the holiday, the store has seen a foot traffic increase of more than 30 percent over the previous week and that the number of customers is expected to grow.

To celebrate New Year's Day and upcoming Spring Festival, Hainan launched a two-month carnival on Dec 7 for offshore duty-free shopping. The carnival, which aims at "holding events every day, offering discounts every week and having themes every month", will last until Lantern Festival, which falls on Feb 5.

To promote duty-free consumption, Hainan has issued rounds of government consumption coupons on mobile apps. Haikou, for example, recently released two rounds of duty-free consumption coupons valued at 6 million yuan. Residents and tourists can get various discounts when using them to purchase goods at duty-free stores.

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