Major duty free store operators in Korea have chosen to shutter as air gateways stay idle amid coronavirus pandemic.
Shilla Duty Free said that it decided to close its Jeju store on weekends and holidays during this month.
The latest restrictions to store operations, which under normal circumstances open 365 days a year, underline the impact the coronavirus is having on the travel retail industry in Korea.
The closed days are eight days of weekends, plus National Assembly Election Day on 15th April and Buddha’s birthday on 30th April.
When to normalize its operation will be decided later, the company said.
Shilla Duty Free said it is an inevitable measure in response to a sharp drop in tourists visiting Jeju Island under the influence of the virus. Shilla Duty Free’s Jeju Airport branch remains temporarily closed since last month as all international flights are suspended.
Earlier, Shinsegae Duty Free closed another store at Incheon International Airport Terminal 1 on 1st April, following the closing of four of its 19 stores in the concourse in the terminal on 23rd March.
The Terminal 1 stores licensed only to Shinsegae Duty Free are hit hard because it is used mostly by foreign and budget airlines. Shinsegae Duty Free also agreed with Incheon International Airport Corporation to stop midnight sales of the remaining 14 stores in Terminal 1 and other Terminal 2 stores.
Lotte Duty Free and Shilla Duty Free decided to cut back operating hours at their Terminal 2 stores. They are now closed at 9:30 pm daily instead of 24-hour operations.
HDC Shilla Duty Free is known to be in talks to close its downtown store in Yongsan, Seoul.
(Source: Pulse News)