The Incheon International Airport Corporation is planning to open Korea’s first on-arrival duty-free store in May next year. The airport operator announced on Sunday that it has commissioned a study to look into how it can optimize the duty-free service, which will be concluded by the end of the year.
The study will focus on deciding the location and size of the shops in order to maximize customer experience by reducing congestion.
Additionally, the research will consider the possibility of setting the rent for the duty-free shops based on revenue instead of unilaterally applying a fixed rate.
In order to ease the burden on interior costs, Incheon airport will be responsible for basic interior constructions, while duty-free operators will only have to provide the finishing touches.
This is because only SMEs will be allowed to bid for the slots.
The Incheon airport said it will start taking bids for the duty-free shops in February and finalize candidates by April. It added that it will have a larger ratio of Korean companies controlling the arrival duty-free shops compared to departure stores. However, as the government earlier announced, the arrival duty-free shops will not sell cigarettes or products that are controlled by customs quarantine regulations such as fruit and meat products.
The airport said it will work with the government to finalize plans to return some of the profits that it makes from renting the spaces to duty-free operators in March.
Incheon airport Terminals 1 and 2 have units available for duty-free shops targeting customers arriving in Seoul. On the first floor of Terminal 1 there are two 190 square-meter (2,045 square feet) areas. On the first floor of Terminal 2 there is a 326 square-meter space. Currently these areas are not in use.
The Ministry of Finance and Economy in late September announced plans to open the country’s first duty-free store available to returning travelers in May next year. The ministry was responding to an order from President Moon Jae-in to review the possibility of an on-arrival duty-free shop during a meeting he had with Blue House senior officials and secretaries in August.
The purpose was to make travel less inconvenient for Korean tourists who were purchasing goods while departing Incheon and carrying them throughout their trip.
Source: Retail News Asia