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Welcome to The Moodie Davitt Report Interim Wanning Bureau
I’m staying at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hainan Xinglong Lakeside on Hainan’s east coast, roughly half way between Haikou and Sanya. It’s a short drive from Wanning, where Wangfujing Duty Free is tomorrow celebrating the Grand Opening of Wangfujing International Duty Free Harbour City following an encouraging start-up since the soft opening on 18 January.
I’m back in Hainan for the first time since March 2019 and it feels great to be here, having arrived at Haikou Meilan International Airport last night. I have written so many words about this beautiful island province since the pandemic began and to be unable to visit due to the crisis has been an immense professional frustration.
Now the waiting is over and I’m here on a 12-day sojourn to take in the third Hainan Expo, which starts on Tuesday. I am also visiting the island’s multiple duty free stores – many of which have opened since I was last here – and hopefully taking some time out to discover Hainan’s myriad natural wonders.
In fact, I’ll be doing exactly that today during a morning tour of this region in the good company of Alice Xiao (below) from Wangfujing Duty Free. Alice and her driver kindly picked me up at Haikou Meilan International Airport last night and later this morning she is showing me around this vibrant part of Hainan, renowned for China’s best surfing, outstanding seafood and quaint traditional villages.
Earlier, I flew out of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) and what a joyous contrast it is from the sombre scenes during the pandemic. This is HKIA recast to its rightful status as a buzzing crossroads, one of the world’s great travel gateways.
I spent most of my time airside taking a look at the Duty Zero by cdf offer and visiting the luxury zone – much enhanced over the pandemic as I have previously reported.
I will let my pictures tell the story of what I experienced when visiting many of the boutiques that populate this diverse and alluring retail precinct. I popped into or stood outside a dozen of so stores and each one appeared to be doing serious business with Chinese customers.
Duty Zero by cdf has now fully opened its wines & spirits, tobacco and gourmet food offer and all locations were humming. I watched one woman (pictured below) carrying a large Louis Vuitton shopping bag from a purchase at the nearby duplex store, then proceeding to buy a bottle of Louis XIII Cognac and three bottles of Hennessy X.O.
That is the sort of transaction which must bring joy to the retailer’s heart and ready confirmation if anyone doubted it that the Mainland customer is back with a vengeance.
Hainan now, though, is my focus. Surf’s up here on the east coast and though I won’t be riding any waves, Wangfujing Duty Free is already riding one of the biggest of them all.