In a bold move, China has become the fourth country worldwide to offer duty free shopping to its foreign tourists by declaring its tropical Island province, Hainan, a duty free zone.
The policy applies to all tourists leaving by air who spend up to CYN5,000 (AUD$739) on imported goods including perfumes, electronics, watches, fashion and leathergoods. Tourists must be over 18 years old and make their purchases at least 6 hours before their flight departure.
The policy was passed on March 24 by the Minister of Finance and the General Administration of Customs in China and allows shoppers to save at least 30% on their purchases.
Chinese tourists from the mainland have relished the prospect of being able to purchase luxury imported goods at such competitive prices in Hainan.
'We have been hearing about these good deals for months,’ said Wei Qinan, a tourist from the Jiangxi province. ‘Now it is real and I am thrilled.’
China Duty Free Group (CDFG) is set to benefit from the boost of tourism this change in regulations is sure to create.
The policy is focused in Hainan’s Sanya City, where foreign and domestic tourists will experience ‘a first class shopping environment, rich commodities and brands, preferential duty free prices and superb customer service.’
'Sanya Duty Free Store intends to become the most attractive high-end shopping mall in Sanya and Hainan,’ said CDFG President Lu Lu, describing the store as the best shopping environment in Mainland China and Hainan.
'Establishing the Sanya Duty Free Store not only effectively fills the gap in Hainan’s top-grade tourist shopping market but also promotes Hainan’s tourism infrastructure, gearing it to gain international recognition,’ said Lu.
The island province has piloted the policy enabling its domestic and foreign tourists the same privileges, marking a huge step in the island’s progress. By the end of the opening day on April 20, more than 14,000 Mainland Chinese customers had visited the 7,000m square store to make purchases from a range of 18 types of commodities.
The program has already seen great success with the recent May Day holiday, which saw more than 60,000 tourists visiting the store daily over the three-day holiday.
The duty-free policy is part of the Chinese government’s plan to boost Hainan’s reputation over the next few years with the aim of making it one of the top international tourist destinations by 2020. The island already has a reputation for sun, surf and sand, and with this new move it has added the fourth ‘S’: shopping.


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