Retail in Asia


China’s new COVID rules spell good news for Hainan duty free

New national protocols for Covid-19 prevention and control spell good news for Hainan’s offshore duty free sector with the island’s impending key winter tourist season set to be a major beneficiary.

SEE ALSO: Lotte Duty Free opens Da Nang downtown store in Vietnam

On December 7, the Comprehensive Team of the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council issued a ten-point plan designed to simplify the prevention and control of the pandemic.

Key points of the plan according to state-controlled Global Times include reducing the frequency of nucleic acid testing; scrapping negative nucleic acid results and health code requirements for entering public places except for designated locations’ as well as lifting Covid testing and health code requirements for domestic cross-region travel.

Infected individuals with mild or no symptoms will be allowed to quarantine at home.

“The new policy has greatly reduced the difficulty for travellers to travel to and from Hainan, especially without worrying about quarantine and other troubles caused by an outbreak of the pandemic,” Jessica’s Secret founder, Mirko Wang, told The Moodie Davitt Report.

“However, due to the sudden relaxation of the policy, many people still have psychological fears about being infected. So, from a social perspective, there may still be some impact on inter-provincial tourism in the short term.”

‘Hainan ready for duty-free shopping frenzy’ ran the headline in powerful state media China Daily in an extensive report today.

The report said that Hainan’s peak winter tourist season stands to benefit from eased travel restrictions both on the island and the Mainland. 

“As many cities and counties in Hainan, including Haikou, Sanya, Wanning and Qionghai, no longer implement ‘region-specific management’ for people arriving from outside the province, the number of searches and bookings for Hainan has surged,” the report said.

Yesterday, the Hainan authorities launched a New Year’s duty free shopping carnival season. The promotional campaign involves “holding events every day, offering discounts every week and having themes every month” and will last until Lantern Festival on February 5, 2023.

“More visitors to the province will be a boost for its consumer market,” cdf Haikou International Duty Free City Shopping Complex, Meng Li, told a news conference. “We believe that the growth point of Hainan free trade port’s duty free consumption is coming.”

The latest easing of restrictions follows soon after the government announced 20 measures in mid-November, including the shortening of quarantine periods for international arrivals and close contacts of confirmed cases, in addition to other optimized measures, such as scrapping circuit breakers for inbound flights.

Global Times reported that the latest measures are expected to give a huge boost to cross-region travel as online searches and bookings of flights and train tickets skyrocketed in the immediate wake of the announcement. Ticket searches for the impending 2023 Spring Festival in January hit a three-year high on a number of travel platforms, the title reported.

SEE ALSO: Reopening of Sanya International Duty Free Shopping Complex

“Across the country, there are palpable signs of strong recovery in the domestic tourism sector. China’s railway operator announced on Wednesday that railway stations across the country will no longer check 48-hour valid nucleic acid test results and health codes when buying tickets and entering the train stations. Some airports in Beijing and Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong Province, announced similar measures,” the report said.

Beijing Capital International Airport has just announced that it will no longer check health codes for travellers entering the airport.

Source: The Moodie Davitt Report