Hainan visitors splurge after policy relaxation

Updated: 2016-02-16 08:02

By Xinhua in Haikou(China Daily)

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One of two pilot duty-free shops in the island province of Hainan took in unprecedented sums during the Chinese New Year holiday after authorities relaxed restrictions on the amount shoppers could spend.

Nearly 30,000 customers spent more than 60 million yuan ($9.1 million) at the duty-free store in Meilan International Airport in Haikou from Feb 7 to 13, according to customs sources.

The 16 million yuan spent on Feb 13 was the highest daily total since the government introduced duty-free shopping in Hainan in 2011 to help develop the island as a tourist destination.

Hainan's other duty-free shop is in the resort city of Sanya.

Nonresidents were previously allowed to spend up to 8,000 yuan on duty-free items, twice a year, but since the beginning of this month they have been allowed to shop as often as they like in the stores and spend up to 16,000 yuan a year.

The shops now also allow travelers to order online and collect their purchases at the airport as they leave.

Almost 4,500 items from Meilan were bought online during the holiday, according to the customs office.

(China Daily 02/16/2016 page5)