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Experts Suggest Focus on Offshore Duty-Free Sales to Boost Tourism in Hainan

BusinessExperts Suggest Focus on Offshore Duty-Free Sales to Boost Tourism in Hainan

Experts believe that continued efforts to promote the building of the Hainan Free Trade Port as an international tourism consumption center will help attract more tourists to the tropical island. The focus should be on improving the international competitiveness of its offshore duty-free sales. This is especially important as Chinese consumers have shown a growing demand for traveling abroad since China optimized its COVID-19 response measures and resumed cross-border travel in January after nearly three years of suspension.

According to Chen Yin, president of China Tourism Group and a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the building of Hainan as an international tourism consumption center may face some challenges in the future. To strengthen its attractiveness of offshore duty-free shopping, Hainan should expand the scale, launch more brands, expand online sales channels, and upgrade services. Chen also suggested that more domestic brands should be encouraged to establish a presence at offshore duty-free stores to support further development of offshore duty-free shopping and consolidate the leading position of China’s duty-free enterprises globally.

To further drive inbound travel and leisure consumption to Hainan, the government may accelerate the implementation of the trial opening of the Seventh Freedom of the Air for passenger and freight transportation in the province, according to Chen. This will help Hainan have the highest level of such traffic rights in the country. Meanwhile, major duty-free operators have continued to increase their investments in Hainan, with China Duty Free Group recently opening a new shopping complex in Haikou, the provincial capital of Hainan.

Chen also proposed launching more high-end hotels in the island province and improving the construction of urban rail transit systems. He suggested giving full play to the gathering effect of the Haikou International Duty Free Shopping Complex and creating a new growth model that combines tourism, art performances, sporting events, duty-free shopping, and leisure consumption. Hainan’s Free Trade Port is set to continue to play a crucial role on the map of China’s luxury goods market, with sizable sales in offshore duty-free luxury products, according to Xing Weiwei, partner of consultancy Bain & Co.

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