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Cochin airport duty-free shop ''benchmark' for other airports

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Kochi, Feb 23 (UNI) Describing the duty-free shopping area at the Cochin International Airport as the ''benchmark'' in the country, travel retail operator Alpha Asia's managing director Paul Topping today said that the per customer dollar spend in Cochin was double of the other Indian airports.

Addressing a press conference here on the conclusion of the two-day 'India Duty Free Workshop', Mr Topping, whose company manages the Cochin Airport duty-free shop, said that teams had visited from Bangalore and Hyderabad to see how the duty-free shop at Cochin had been constructed and was being managed.

He said that compared to the 'per customer spend' of about two dollars at the other international airports in India, the sales in Cochin were four dollars.

The duty-free shopping area at Cochin notched up a turnover of five million US dollars last year, with an average growth rate of 25 per cent. ''However, with an increasing number of airlines coming to Cochin and more tourists coming in from Europe, a growth rate of 35 per cent is possible in the next few years,'' he added.

A new duty-free shopping area was being constructed inside the departure lounge and this should be ready within one year, he added.

While the liquor, confectionary and super market sections of the Cochin duty-free were doing well, the perfumery, soft toys, electronics and food sections needed to be improved and efforts were on in this direction, he added.

The workshop highlighted various topics related to duty-free shopping and airport development in India including low cost airlines, aviation investment, suppliers and their brands and in-flight retail.

Among the participants were ITDC vice-president N K Piplani, Flemingo India director Atul Ahuja and Duty-Free News International editor John Rimmer, CIAL managing director V J Kurian and Deccan Air chief revenue officer John Kuruvilla.

UNI ARC DK1821

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