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Duty-free purchases in Hainan surge during Spring Festival travel boom

CGTN – Duty-free shopping has surged in China’s island province of Hainan this Spring Festival holiday as its tourism market continues to prosper.

From February 10 to 13, duty-free sales in Hainan totaled 1.217 billion yuan (about $169 million), according to data from Haikou Customs. The number of duty-free shoppers reached 156,000, with average spending of 7,802 yuan per person.

The Spring Festival holiday, which runs from February 10 to 17 this year, is the most important holiday of the year for the Chinese people. Many return to their hometowns for a family reunion, while others choose to travel. Hainan’s warm weather during winter makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations.

The shopping spree started two weeks before the Chinese New Year. From January 26 to February 9, duty-free sales in Hainan reached 2.26 billion yuan, up 4.9 times from the same period last year.

During this Spring Festival, Haikou International Duty-Free Shopping Complex, the world’s largest stand-alone duty-free store, has been bustling with shoppers.

Li Siying, a tourist from central China’s Hubei Province, bought skincare products worth over 3,000 yuan for herself and many other products for her friends.

“The variety of products in the duty-free store is impressive and the prices are very competitive. Plus, the option for instant pick-up is very convenient,” Li told Xinhua News agency. “It’s much more convenient to come to shop in Hainan than going abroad.”

The shopping complex in Haikou, capital city of Hainan, has also organized cultural and tourism activities during the holiday, including dragon dances, lion dances and other traditional performances, allowing shoppers to experience festive vibes while shopping.

To boost duty-free consumption during the Spring Festival, many duty-free stores in the province launched promotional activities while the Haikou municipal government distributed 27,500 electronic duty-free shopping vouchers worth millions of yuan to customers.

After years of development, duty-free shopping has become a hallmark of Hainan’s tourism industry. The province currently has 12 duty-free stores, with more flexible pick-up services being rolled out to improve customers’ shopping experience.

Wang Shuai, deputy chief of the No. 1 duty-free goods supervision section of Haikou Port Customs under Haikou Customs, said shoppers now have five options to pick up their duty-free goods.

For instance, customers can pick up their purchases in designated areas of airports, railway stations or wharves. Shoppers from outside Hainan can also directly mail their goods to their houses.

“In order to better serve passengers, the customs has been carrying out supervision of offshore duty-free shopping 24 hours a day,” Wang told China Media Group.

(With input from Xinhua, CMG)

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