No Koreans allowed: Foreigner-only duty-free stores to debut next year

No Koreans allowed: Foreigner-only duty-free stores to debut next year

"Too many Koreans at Korean duty free stores," complain foreign tourists
korea duty free
Who goes into a store in Korea and then complains about there being too many Koreans? Foreigners, apparently.

Now that China is opening duty-free stores for Chinese locals, Korea Customs Service officials have been racking their brains over how to lure label-loving foreign shoppers back to Korea. 

Their answer?

Foreigner-only duty-free shops, which will be sanctioned by the Korean government from next year, reports the Korea Herald Weekender

Evidently, the new plan was considered important enough to be brought up before President Lee Myung-bak himself during a National Competitiveness meeting. 

"The new system is expected to attract more foreign travelers into the country," said Park Sangdeok, a Korea Customs Service official. 

Park also said that there had been "complaints among foreigners that duty-free shops downtown are too crowded with Korean customers."

Er, we hate to break it to those credit card-wielding whiners, but when in Korea, one should presumably expect ... Koreans.

Duty-free retailers are also showing a tepid response about the profitability of this new plan, despite the fact that foreign customers account for 60 percent of sales. 

Although the new operators will not be allowing Koreans past their doors, they will be ordered to sell domestically-manufactured products "to boost local economy." 

More on CNNGo: Korean Air launches world's first airborne duty-free shop

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