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More duty-free stores planned in Hainan

(China Daily)

10:58, April 03, 2012

Shoppers browse through brand name cosmetics at a duty free store in Sanya, Hainan province, during Spring Festival in February. [Photo/China Daily]

As the one-year anniversary of the opening of the first duty-free store in South China's resort city of Sanya draws near, officials said more stores are in the pipeline and a rebate cap on purchases is likely to be lifted.

China launched the duty-free policy trial last year in the tropical island province of Hainan, which allows tourists to spend up to 5,000 yuan ($754) on imported commodities without paying taxes.

Wang Wei, director of the department of social development for the National Development and Reform Commission, told China Daily the rebate cap on commodities may be lifted.

"The policy has just been carried out for one year. The rebate cap will definitely be increased in the long run, but it takes time to do the assessment," Wang said on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia 2012.

Tan Li, vice-governor of Hainan province, said the duty-free policy is the most valuable and influential part of the government's preferential policies to boost Hainan as an international tourism island.

Since the opening of the duty-free stores in Sanya on April 20 and at Meilan Airport in late December, total sales of duty-free commodities have reached 1.6 billion yuan, Tan said at a news conference on Sunday.

Experts said the sales figures are equivalent to the revenue of a large shopping center in Beijing.

Tan also said the visa-free entry policy has greatly boosted tourism in Hainan. Tourists groups from 26 countries can enjoy visa-free access to Hainan with a maximum stay of 15 days.

These 26 countries include Finland, Denmark, Norway, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Germany, Austria, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and France.

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