Shilla Duty Free, operated by Hotel Shilla, has secured the license to operate its duty-free business at the airport in the country‘s resort island of Jeju, the Korea Customs Service said Wednesday.
Shilla Duty Free now has the right to run duty-free stores at Jeju International Airport for five years.
The bidding took place as Hanwha Galleria, retail unit of Hanwha Group, decided to withdraw its business from the airport after the company suffered from a drop in the number of visitors from China, which stemmed from a diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing over a US anti-missile system here.
Shilla Duty Free scored 901.41 points out of 1,000, beating Lotte duty Free.
The annual sales of the duty-free stores at the popular tourist destination are reportedly estimated to surpass 60 billion won, according to industry sources.
For the evaluation held between Tuesday and Wednesday, the KCS randomly chose 25 judges out of the license evaluation committee of 97 civilian experts.
Under the newly amended customs regulations, the evaluation committee has been fully filled with civilians without any government officials, following a state-led audit that found previous selection procedure was politically influenced during the former government.
Along with the final result, the names of the committee members, as well as the winning score was made public for the first time in an attempt to increase transparency.
Jeju International Airport will also be the nation‘s first airport to apply rental fees based on the operator’s annual sales. The Korea Airports previously suggested 20.4 percent as the percentage to be applied to sales to calculate the rent, an attempt to ease burdens of the duty-free operator at the airport.
By Shim Woo-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)