China's southernmost island province of Hainan should improve its duty-free policies to attract more tourists amid rising rivalry with Southeast Asian nations after borders opened following the Covid-19 pandemic, according to experts.
Hainan should make use of the Hainan Free Trade Port policy to enhance its services of tourism, shopping, and business to give clients more options, Eric Huang, auditing partner at accounting firm Ernst & Young Hua Ming, said to Yicai Global.
Tourism is not fully over Covid yet. The number of tourists that come to Hainan may recover to pre-pandemic levels, according to Pan Mingming, assistant general manager of Zhuhai Duty Free Group.
The island's duty-free market will expand greatly as offshore duty-free and outbound travel policies are adjusted, Pan said, adding that orderly cooperation and competition will facilitate growth.
In the first quarter, Hainan province welcomed 26.8 million tourists, up by 20% from a year ago, based on official data. Tourism revenue surged by 25% to about RMB 53 billion (USD 7.7 billion). In the first two months of this year, including the Spring Festival, offshore duty-free shops’ total sales tallied around RMB 14.8 billion (USD 2.2 billion), up by 15%.
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