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Duty free store at airport’s arrivals hall approved

Passengers arriving at LF Wade International Airport may soon be able to buy alcohol and cigarettes duty free in the arrivals area.

The Bermuda Airport (Duty Free Sales) Amendment Act allows the creation of a duty free store in the arrivals section of the airport.

Introducing the legislation, Premier and Finance Minister Paula Cox said allowing passengers arriving on the island duty free would provide visitors and locals another opportunity to spend their money on the Island.

She announced that a request for tender had already gone out and received two applicants, with Duty Free Bermuda producing the winning offer. Duty Free Bermuda will pay for retrofitting to create the new store between Bermuda Immigrations and Customs, which according to the legislation would be allowed to sell duty free alcohol, cigarettes and cigars.

Passengers will have to declare the goods, but they will not be included in the $100 duty free allowance. Mrs Cox said that several other airports already featured such stores, including New York JFK and London Gatwick.

“The experience internationally is that arrival duty free has no impact on local sales,” she said. “Right now, sales that could be made locally are being made abroad.”

She said the proposed business would not only create revenue for the airport, but create new jobs and provide a service for travellers who could buy items in Bermuda they would otherwise have to carry on the plane. Mrs Cox also suggested that having a store in the arrival area might help airport staff, who are sometimes flooded with people as soon as a plane lands.

Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards said he was fascinated by the idea, while Shadow Education Minister Grant Gibbons questioned whether the business was expected to cater to locals or visitors. “If it’s locals, I have a hard time believing that it’s not going to have an affect on retailers,” he said.

Both men however said they had no objections to the proposal on principle, only questions as to how it would work.

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Published November 26, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 26, 2011 at 6:52 am)

Duty free store at airport’s arrivals hall approved

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