KSA gives green light to duty free zones at airports, sea ports and land borders

By Luke Barras-hill |

King Khalid International Airport

Duty free sales at KKIA grew 68% in July against the same month in 2019.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) decision this week to expand duty free stores to land border crossings, seaports and airport arrivals zones has been hailed as a ‘step change’ in an ‘electric’ travel market.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, approved the move during a cabinet meeting held on Tuesday (9 September) at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah.

“This is further excellent news for the travel sector in the Kingdom, and a step change in the commercial landscape,” a well-informed industry source told TRBusiness.

“Saudi nationals are strong spenders in duty free internationally and this development will build further on solid momentum that has already been building in the last 12 months or so. It is another piece in the puzzle for what is undoubtedly becoming one of the – if not the – most electric travel markets.”

Riyadh Airports Company (RAC) reported that duty free sales at King Khalid International Airport (KKIA) surged by 68% in July this year versus the same month in 2019.

Passenger numbers in H1 recovered to 90% of 2019 levels, with momentum continuing to build.

As reported, the airport operator has promised a ‘best-in-class’ commercial experience at KKIA’s Terminals 3 and 4, which are currently being renovated.

In an exclusive video interview earlier this year, Abdulaziz Al-Asaker, Acting Vice President Commercial at RAC, spoke at length to TRBusiness about the much-anticipated shopping proposition at the terminals within the context of the Kingdom’s ambitious aviation strategy tied to Vision 2030.

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