Michael Kho, DFP general manager, said they have opened at the Davao airport for the first time because of the bright prospects of the local tourism industry.
He said Davao City's tourism has notably increased and DFP considered the comeback after careful feasibility studies. DFP opened two small shops within the airport, at the departure and arrival areas selling liquor, tobacco, confectioneries and chocolates, fashion and accessories, and perfumes.
He said they also planned to open another shop outside the airport come August to offer additional products for electronics and a supermarket such as groceries.
He said they saw a lot of development in the city aside from the thriving tourism industry. He cited the notable arrival of three flights of Korean tourists as they were preparing for the opening.
Kho said DFP pulled out its shop here twice, in 1998 and 2000, over reasons he did not disclose to reporters in an interview after the blessing and opening ceremonies Wednesday at the airport.
The $1 million airport shops will be the firm's ninth, with six stores in Manila and two in Cebu. It is the only duty-free store in Mindanao as Kho said they eyed catering only to international airports and seaports with high volume of foreign tourist arrivals.
Kho said that while other supermarkets can easily import foreign made goods, DFP’s advantage lies in the authenticity, freshness and uniqueness of its products.
About 35 t0 40 percent of their clientele buy chocolate and liquor. He added that the duty-free industry in the country gains an average of five percent every year.
Sonia Garcia, tourism regional director, told reporters the duty free shop has a drawing power in favor of the city's tourism industry, luring airlines and travel agents to potential destinations like Davao.
She said the duty-free shops at the airport make Davao City more attractive to tourists, who seek the convenience of duty-free shops.
Products sold at duty-free shops can be bought sans tariff charges within 15 days upon arrival of a foreigner or a returning overseas Filipino worker. Those who go out for short trips abroad, such as those attending conferences, can avail of duty-free privileges within two days after arrival.
Garcia confirmed increase in tourist arrivals to the city citing a nine-percent annual growth, but she could not give figures of the actual volume.
She said Japanese, American, and Korean nationals top tourist arrivals to the city. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)