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HDC Shilla Duty Free eyes young, independent travelers

HDC Shilla Duty Free, currently preparing a bid for a new duty-free license in Seoul next month, said it plans to build a “millennial duty-free shop” aimed at young travelers coming independently by introducing high-tech services. Millennials refer to those born from the 1980s to early 2000s.

This age group is considered to be independent with high consuming power, opting to travel alone rather than through tour agencies’ group itineraries. They are considered to be friendly towards South Korea’s culture and trends, with an interest in Korean brands, the company said.

The candidate site to be advocated by the company is the IPark Tower located at the heart of southern Seoul. It sits opposite from Coex, Samseong-dong, one of the most frequented tourist destinations in Seoul for shopping.

IPark Tower in Samseong-dong, Seoul (HDC Shilla Duty Free)
IPark Tower in Samseong-dong, Seoul (HDC Shilla Duty Free)

The company said it plans to contain “all things Hallyu” at the building including information technology, beauty, fashion and culture.

If realized, the store will be the basis of the sustainable duty-free industry due to the company’s global duty-free operation know-how, it said.

IPark Tower was designed by US architect Daniel Libeskind to symbolize innovation and future. Since opening in 2004, it has served as a landmark in the area.

HDC Shilla Duty Free is a joint venture between Hotel Shilla and Hyundai Development Co. and it opened its first store in Hyundai IPark Mall in Yongsan in March this year, presenting over 600 brands.

The next store will fully utilize Samsung’s IT technology by offering a “Merged Reality” fitting room, where artificial intelligence will suggest tailored fashion tips to customers. This will also help accumulate massive tourism-related data, the company said.

The company is also envisioning a “completely different” shopping route and store distribution from existing duty-free stores targeting young customers.

Korea’s flagship stores, up-and-coming designers and K-drama concept stores will come to the fore, along with lifestyle related items.

It has also designed a plan to complete a “duty-free belt” linking the envisioned site to eight duty-free stores located north of the Han River.

“The upcoming bid focuses on quality improvement of tourism industry and sustainable growth. We will propose a new duty-free paradigm that will consistently create growth momentum in the next 20, 30 to 100 years,” said co-heads of HDC Shilla Duty Free Yang Chang-hoon and Lee Gil-han. (