China Focus: Hainan sees tourism, consumption boom during holiday


HAIKOU, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- China's resort island Hainan has been a hit during the National Day holiday by recording a double-digit rise in tourism revenue.

The province posted more than 4.5 million visitor arrivals during the first seven days of October, up by 9.3 percent compared with the same period last year, and raked in 6.62 billion yuan (about 988 million U.S. dollars) in tourism revenue, up by 26.6 percent year on year, according to the provincial department of tourism and culture.

Zhang Xiaohan, a tourist from the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu, bought an iPhone 11 Pro Max for 10,060 yuan in a duty-free store in Haikou, capital of Hainan Province.

"The price is much less than on its official website, and it saves me about 2,600 yuan," said Zhang.

"I used to buy skincare products and electronic products abroad, but now I prefer to shop in Hainan for its duty-free policy and discounts during the holiday," he added.

During the holiday, in the duty-free shopping mall in the resort city of Sanya, it was common to see customers lining up at the door of luxury stores like Gucci, Prada, and Tiffany.

"There are discounts for new arrivals. I am glad I can buy bags with duty-free prices without going abroad," said Li Qinyi, a tourist who was picking a bag at the Gucci store.

Hainan raked in 1.04 billion yuan in duty-free sales during the National Day holiday, an increase of 148.7 percent year on year, according to Haikou Customs.

Official data showed that Hainan's four offshore duty-free shops currently in operation received some 146,800 customers and sold 998,900 duty-free merchandise during the holiday, up by 43.9 percent and 97.2 percent year on year, respectively.

Starting on July 1, Hainan increased its annual tax-free shopping quota from 30,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan per person.

The range of duty-free goods has also expanded from 38 categories to 45, while the previous tax-free limit of 8,000 yuan for a single product has been lifted.

Hainan is expected to build three more duty-free shops in Sanya this year. To encourage moderate competition, the government will introduce an enterprise with duty-free business qualifications from other provinces to operate the business.

"Duty-free consumption has become a crucial part of the domestic economic circulation," said Wang Yiwu, director of the Economics Research Institute of Hainan University, noting that because of the pandemic, many Chinese people could not go abroad, which led to the boom of duty-free shopping in Hainan to some extent.

"Hainan is building a free trade port as well as becoming an international tourism and consumption destination," said Wang Jiansheng, chairman of the Hainan Tourism Development Research Association. He said that under the new duty-free policies, duty-free shopping has become the biggest highlight of the destination.

"During the holiday, new duty-free policies have stimulated Chinese people's potential and vitality in consumption, which has made Hainan a pivotal platform linking the domestic and overseas market," Wang added.

The Chinese government on June 1 released a master plan for the Hainan free trade port, aiming to build the island province into a globally influential, high-level free trade port by the middle of the century.

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