A recent report has indicated that the sales in the Arab airport duty free market doubled in approximately a decade. Last year, total sales reached $400 million. However, according to this report, there are many different approaches by the various Arab states regarding the development of their duty free outlets.
Dubai International is by far the leading Arab Airport in terms of duty free sales with approximately $200 million per annum. It is followed by the Abu Dhabi Airport with annual sales of $100 million. Bahrain Airport ranks third with sales reaching $40 million per year, Kuwait Airport is fourth with sales hitting $23 million, Sharjah is fifth with $10 million and Cairo $8 million. In other Arab airports annual sales do not surpass $5 million annually, Asharq al Awsat daily reported.
Based on the report, the average purchase in the Dubai Duty Free (DDF) equals $30 per traveler. The most popular items include electronic appliances, cigarettes and jewelry. Nevertheless, in the majority of Arab airports this figure decreases to $10 and is frequently used to purchase cigarettes.
DDF general manager, Mr. Colm McLoughlin, notified the daily that he hopes sales will reach $1 billion ($270 million) by 2001, compared to $180 million in 1998 and $60 million in 1988. According to McLoughlin, one important factor affecting the growth in duty free sales is the rapid increase in the number of travelers passing through Dubai Airport. This year, the number is expected to total 12 million passengers in comparison to 9 million in 1997. Five years from now, this figure is predicted to total 19 million.