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Duty free shops report increased buying by Chinese tourists

Duty free shops report increased buying by Chinese tourists

Taipei, June 28 (CNA) Airport duty free shops have benefited from an increase in the number of Chinese tourists to the country over the past two years, according to the operators. Two duty free shops at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport -- Tasa Meng and Ever Rich -- said they have seen sales rise by 20 percent in the past two years, thanks to the growing number of Chinese visitors. The growth in sales was recorded amid declining business from Japanese visitors, who are usually the main buyers, the shop operators said. The favorite item among Chinese shoppers is kaoliang liquor, which is made from fermented sorghum, but independent travelers often make more expensive purchases, the operators said. This is because independent travelers tend to spend more time at airports than tour groups, which have tighter schedules, they added. Among the notable purchases at Tasa Meng this year was a piece of jewelry priced at over NT$900,000 (US$30,069), which was bought by a Chinese visitor who had just landed, the shop's operator said. The store also sold six watches to three Chinese tourists at a total price of NT$900,000. Meanwhile, the Kaohsiung City government said Thursday an estimated 24,000 independent Chinese travelers have visited the southern city since Taiwan opened up to such tourists exactly one year ago. The number of overnight stays by Chinese visitors at hotels in Kaohsiung during the first five months of the year has grown from 404,000 a year ago to 578,000, according to the city's Tourism Bureau. Two Chinese visitors -- one from Shanghai and the other from Chengdu -- said at a press conference Thursday that people in southern Taiwan are particularly welcoming and hospitable. The visitors also said they enjoyed Taiwanese street food such as baked mullet roe and oyster omelets. (By Wang Shu-fen, Wang Shwu-fen and Kay Liu)