, DUBAI, Mar 23 – The Dubai International Airport’s duty free shopping area is increasingly adapting to the massive influx of passengers from China, managing director of the Dubai Duty Free (DDF) said Tuesday.
Dubai Duty Free (DDF) Managing Director Colm McLoughlin told Xinhua at the three-day Dubai Airport Show 2012, which kicked off Tuesday, that improving services for Chinese customers became one of the key priorities for the DDF.
Opened in 1983, the DDF has grown to become the largest airport retailer in the world.
Because of the rising importance of Dubai among Chinese tourists and business travellers, McLoughlin is optimistic to achieve the target sales of the DDF.
“In the first four months, sales were 14 percent up year-on- year. Last year we recorded a 15.6-percent increase in sales, (which) reached 1.46 billion US dollars. The DDF is on a good way to hit our target set at 1.65 billion US dollars in 2012,” he said.
“With the Chinese cigarette brand Chunghwa we achieved a turnover of 11 million US dollars last year,” McLoughlin said, “Chinese tourists like luxury brands, luxury alcohol products and souvenirs from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).”
Currently the DDF employs 300 Chinese sales staff. “We will add another 100 employees from China this year,” said McLoughlin, who is head of some 4,000 DDF staff on the ground.
Since the UAE and China eased their bilateral visa policies in September 2009, Dubai has witnessed a massive influx of travellers.
Dubai hotels registered from January to April this year a total of 193,000 stays of Chinese nationals, representing a 27-percent increase compared to the same period in the previous year, figures from the Dubai tourism body DTCM revealed.
In order to push up sales figures from Chinese air passengers, the DDF has started to accept RMB as a means of payment as well as credit card issued by China’s UnionPay