People shop at Haikou Riyue Plaza Duty Free Shop in Haikou, South China's Hainan province, Jan 27, 2023. [Photo/VCG]
HAIKOU -- During the week-long Spring Festival holiday, which ended on Friday, duty-free shopping boomed in South China's island province of Hainan as its tourism gradually rebounded, unleashing new consumption vitality.
Hainan reported a total of 1.56 billion yuan ($234 million) in offshore duty-free sales during the holiday, a year-on-year increase of 5.88 percent, according to Haikou Customs.
The number of shoppers for duty-free products in Hainan from Jan 21 to 27 totaled 157,000, up 9.51 percent from last year's Spring Festival holiday, which ran from Jan 31 to Feb 6. Each shopper spent an average of nearly 10,000 yuan.
In October 2022, Haikou International Duty-Free Shopping Complex, the world's largest stand-alone duty-free shopping mall, opened in Haikou, capital of Hainan.
During the holiday, duty-free shops in Hainan launched plenty of promotional activities, further stimulating the vitality of duty-free consumption.
For many tourists, duty-free shopping has become an essential part of traveling in Hainan.
Wu Lan, a tourist from Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi province, and her family came to Hainan on a road trip for the first time to spend the Spring Festival there. They traveled around the island from Haikou to Sanya for more than 10 days.
Despite having bought many skincare products and cosmetics in Sanya's duty-free shops, Wu still purchased duty-free goods back in Haikou. "Duty-free goods here are cheap, and there's a wide range of brands for consumers," she said.
On Thursday, the Haikou International Duty-Free Shopping Complex was crowded with tourists.
"There are many coupons and various products to choose from during the Spring Festival. We can also have the goods delivered at home, which is very convenient," said Wang Yulin, a tourist who traveled with his family in Hainan.
China released a master plan in June 2020 to build Hainan into a globally influential and high-level free trade port by the middle of the century. Over recent years, the island province has become an attractive shopping destination for domestic consumers.
So far, there are 12 duty-free shops in Hainan, including six in Haikou, four in Sanya, one in Qionghai, and one in Wanning.
Furthermore, duty-free shopping has become an important part in building the Hainan international tourism and consumption center. Since 2011, the island saw its annual sales of duty-free shopping grow by nearly 50 times, with duty-free goods worth more than 100 billion yuan sold, according to the provincial department of commerce.
During this year's Spring Festival holiday, the province received nearly 6.4 million tourists, up 18.2 percent year-on-year, and raked in nearly 9.3 billion yuan in tourism revenue, according to the provincial tourism authority.
Hainan will focus on boosting consumer demand and strive to drive up the island's number of tourists and tourism revenue this year. It expects to see its offshore duty-free sales exceed 80 billion yuan in 2023, said Feng Fei, governor of Hainan, when delivering a government work report earlier this month.
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