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Shanghai May Offer China’s First Departure Tax Rebate for Tourists

Posted: 01/16/2015 8:14 am

shanghai bundWhether you’re there to see its gleaming towers or enjoy its internationalized flair for hospitality, Shanghai is a top destination for tourists. Now, Shanghai wants to further sweeten the deal for its visitors by becoming the first city in China to offer a departure tax rebate.

The proposal was brought forward by the municipal finance department last month at a conference on tourism development.

As it currently stands, the proposed tax rebate would apply to any foreign visitor (including those from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan) who has not stayed in China for more than 183 days. To qualify for the rebate, tourists would need to buy something worth at least RMB 800 at a designated store and then leave the country within 90 days.

The finance department is soliciting opinions from the public on the idea, and the Central Government would need to sign off on the plan.

Ding Liguo, a senior retail expert, suggests that the implementation of the proposal will dovetail nicely with the opening of Shanghai Disneyworld in the future. Ding stressed the importance to attract tourists sooner rather than later:

If we are slow to act, many other countries will implement similar laws and lower customs taxes and duty-free, and thus be able to snatch up middle and high-end consumers.

A pilot program in Hainan that offered a departure tax rebate was first tried out in 2011.

Photo: nipic

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