Thailand to close duty-free shops at international airports

By VNA   July 6, 2024 | 07:00 pm PT
Thailand to close duty-free shops at international airports
Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, Photo courtesy of the airport
Duty-free shops in arrivals areas of international airports in Thailand will be closed to encourage more spending by visitors in domestic stores, the Thai cabinet has said.

The move is expected to generate up to THB3.5 billion (US$96 million) of new local retail spending a year.

Rudklao Intawong Suwankiri, a deputy spokesperson of the Thai Government, said that ministers this week acknowledged guidelines for promoting Thailand as a tourism and spending hub, as proposed by the Ministry of Finance, reported Bangkok Post.

She noted that all the three operators of inbound duty-free businesses have agreed to suspend the operations at eight international airports, namely Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, U-tapao, Samui, and Krabi. This aligns with the Government’s policy to promote spending in domestic stores.

Information on the timing of the move has yet to be revealed.

Statistics from the Customs Department show that sales from inbound duty-free shops totaled THB3.02 billion in 2023.

Rudklao said the ability of travelers to purchase goods from inbound duty-free shops reduces the opportunity for spending on domestic goods.

The country’s Finance Ministry estimates that the closure of inbound duty-free shops will raise foreign tourists’ spending by THB570 per person each trip.

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