Optimists looking for signs of recovery in global duty free and travel retail have had a tough time recently. Passenger numbers at European airports finished 2020 in firmly negative territory, with typical declines of at least 70% versus the previous year. For the Americas, the deficit was smaller but still around -60%. Even in Asia Pacific, predicted to rebound soonest, Malaysian airports reported 75% fewer travellers over the last 12 months. The news from China has been consistently better however, especially from Hainan Island since the offshore duty free allowance was tripled and the range of goods expanded in July last year.
After total duty free sales on Hainan more than doubled between January and mid-December 2020, average daily turnover rose almost threefold from 1 to 3 January 2021, around $28 million worth of merchandise being sold every day. Three important new outlets opened on 30 December: China National Service Corporation’s Sanya International Duty Free Plaza, a new China Duty Free Group airport shop at Sanya Phoenix Airport and a large downtown store in Sanya operated by Hainan Tourism Investment Development and Lagardère Travel Retail. Further partnerships between local companies and foreign retailers mean more openings in the coming weeks for Shenzen Duty Free Group / DFS and Hainan Development Holdings / Dufry.
From its venue in Sanya, Haitang Bay, the forthcoming TFWA Asia Pacific Hainan Special Edition will tap into the dynamism of this duty free hotspot. The event, provisionally scheduled between 10th and 13th May, will open with a conference exploring current economic and business trends, followed by a cost-effective brand showcase centred on suites instead of tailor-made stands. Participation can be either physical or virtual thanks to a flexible format, with TFWA’s ONE2ONE meeting service enabling delegates to network with potential partners in person or at distance.
Watch out for more details of TFWA Asia Pacific Hainan Special Edition in the next few weeks.