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Lotte, Shilla duty free stores buoyed by returning Chinese group tourists

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Chinese tourists group visit a Shilla Duty Free Shop on Jeju Island, Friday. Courtesy of Shilla Duty Free Shop
Chinese tourists group visit a Shilla Duty Free Shop on Jeju Island, Friday. Courtesy of Shilla Duty Free Shop

By Kim Jae-heun

Lotte, Shilla and other duty free stores here are doing everything they can to attract Chinese tourists ahead of the country's biggest holidays of Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day Sept. 29 to Oct. 6, according to company officials, Friday.

Shilla Duty Free Shop's Jeju branch offers an instant discount promotion for Chinese shoppers using Alipay and special exchange rate benefits on WeChat, China's most used instant messaging platform.

In addition, the duty free firm prepared an art exhibition and cultural spaces on the first floor of its store on Jeju Island for Chinese tourists to enjoy various tourist experiences.

On the second floor, the company opened a "Finding Jeju" store that only sells local brands' items.

"It has been a long time since Chinese group tourists visited Korea for shopping. We will actively strengthen our marketing activities in China through our local offices, while expanding partnerships with major affiliates to attract Chinese tourists," a Shilla Duty Free Shop official said.

Lotte Duty Free greeted 350 group tourists from China, Friday, who visited its store on Jeju Island, to enjoy shopping. It is the first time in over six years since the last Chinese tourist group visited Jeju Island in March 2017.

"Up to 20,000 Chinese tourists are scheduled to visit Jeju Island on cruises by the end of this year. Lotte Duty Free will thoroughly prepare for Chinese customers by securing their favorite products while checking infrastructure such as group buses and parking lots are available," a Lotte Duty Free official said.

In Seoul, Lotte installed a photo zone of K-pop artists in the popular tourist streets of Myeong-dong to enjoy Korean culture while promoting duty free shopping on social media. It is also introducing various street foods and commercial facilities to attract Chinese tourists via online marketing.

Meanwhile, after the Chinese government resumed issuing group tourist visas, last month, some 680 tourists from Shanghai visited Jeju Island, Aug. 30.
Kim Jae-heun


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