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Lotte wins operational license for Jeju downtown duty-free shop

Hotel Lotte won the operational right for a downtown duty-free shop in Jeju, officials said Friday, a move that is anticipated to bolster the company's footing in the South Korean resort island's ballooning duty-free market.

Hotel Lotte, among the three applicants that submitted competing bids, will operate one of the island's two downtown duty-free facilities for foreigners for five years, according to the officials.

The Jeju bid has drawn keen industry and media attention as a lucrative springboard for the winner to take hold of the southern island's estimated 1 trillion won ($910 million) and growing duty-free business.

Government data show that more than 1 million foreign tourists have visited the resort island this year, with Chinese visitors, who have proven to be zealous shoppers, accounting for nearly 90 percent of the total.

The bid, organized by the Korea Customs Service, was based on the evaluation of proposals by the three companies -- Hotel Lotte, Hotel Shilla and Booyoung Group -- and did not consider bidding price as a deciding factor. (Yonhap)

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