Airport shopping takes off in Hongkong

1 Nov 2007 by business traveller

With travel on the rise and more people frequenting airports, last-minute shopping has taken on new meaning.

It has certainly gone beyond picking up tired-looking touristy items for co-workers or the same brand of chocolates for the family as an increasing number of airports set up retail sections carrying items that rival those found in swanky downtown shopping malls.

It’s no wonder that more business travellers check in early, eager to explore the available retail options, which they were unable to do during their stay in the city due to hectic schedules. Besides the ubiquitous duty-free liquor and cigarettes, the range has expanded to include the latest fashion accessories and apparel – including those of the venerable Tiffany & Co. – and high-end electronic goods and watches.

Innovators in this field have been Singapore’s Changi Airport, whose countless awards (including a frequent harvest of Business Traveller Awards) in over two decades are testimony to millions of satisfied customers. Capitalising on growing affluence in the region, its Terminal 3, opening next January, will feature more than 25,000sqm of retail and dining space, with over 100 shops and 30 restaurants.

Estimated at US$24 billion, the airport retailing industry can only grow further, buoyed by developing markets in China and its hosting of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

Wanting to learn from the experts, the China Civil Airport Association (CCAA), consisting of 106 airport members throughout the country, is holding the China Airport Retail Summit on November 21 and 22 in Beijing.

The forum aims to address the challenges and opportunities for China’s airport retail development and serves as a networking and promotion platform for more than 200 industry professionals.

The guest roster includes Alessandra Piovesana, managing director of Nuance-Watson Hongkong and Frits Kuipers, director of Consumer International and The Schiphol Group. The event takes place at the New Otani Hotel.

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