Industry associations urge retailers to respect inbound tobacco allowances

DutyFreeWorldCouncilGlobal duty free trade group The Duty Free World Council and its member associations are urging retailers around the world to take heed of inbound allowances for tobacco goods when they sell to passengers who are traveling to destinations with restricted allowances, especially those where the limit has been reduced in recent months.

DFW issued a communiqué last week in the wake of reports in the New Zealand press about huge quantities of cigarettes being confiscated by NZ customs and significant amounts collected in duties paid by passengers who decline to give up their duty free tobacco purchases.

A new reduced inbound allowance of 50 cigarettes was introduced by New Zealand in November last year.

Retailers selling to New Zealand bound passengers, particularly those in airports with a significant number of transit passengers, are urged to be especially diligent when selling tobacco to travelers heading for New Zealand.

Frank O’Connell, DFWC President, commented: “As an industry we have spent significant time and resources trying to impress upon governments the futility of cutting tobacco allowances as a health measure and the negative impact on tourism if the first experience of a passenger arriving in a country – namely at the customs clearance point – is a distasteful one.

“It is the responsibility of all retailers to ensure staff are thoroughly briefed on the allowances at destinations where the limit is below the standard 200 sticks.
“If passengers feel that they have been misled when purchasing in duty free shops, it is damaging to all of us. Other categories, not just tobacco, will also suffer if customers feel wronged by duty free shops.”

Other markets which have recently introduced inbound allowance cuts include India (100 sticks), Australia (50), Hong Kong (19), Macau (100) and Palau (0).