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3 Jul, 2014

Beijing vows tax refunds to lure foreign visitors

By Zheng Xin

Beijing (chinadaily.com.cn), 2014-07-01 – Beijing has vowed to institute a tax refund program this year to attract more overseas travelers.

“Beijing will introduce the tax refund program within this year, to attract more visitors from abroad,” said Song Yu, head of the Beijing Tourism Development Commission.

The program would allow foreign travelers to claim tax refunds at shopping malls in the capital, he said.

It is likely the capital will make “Russia Town”, a retail hub that attracts many foreign traders and especially Russians, the pilot area for outlets offering tax refunds and duty-free shopping, Song said.

The duty-free shopping area will mainly serve foreign transit passengers, particularly those on 72-hour visa waivers.

The government released a plan for its first downtown duty-free shopping area as early as 2012, but no further details were subsequently released .

The bureau said earlier that the government is considering making the visa application process easier for foreigners while coming up with more customized tour packages, including exclusive discounts at the city’s airport and free shuttle buses from the airport to hotels and local scenic spots.

Song said the capital would also further increase promotion of the visa-free stays while introducing more incentives to attract transit passengers.

The commission said it would also further improve its public facilities and services to boost inbound tourism.

The visa waiver policy has helped boost visits to Beijing since its launch on Jan 1, 2013, benefiting people from 45 countries including the United States, Switzerland and Britain.