The Duty-Free Philippines Corporation (DFPC), an attached Department of Tourism (DOT) agency, has recorded USD54.1 million in sales for the first seven months of 2023.
Based on its latest data released Aug. 11, the DFPC said the figure is 43.8 percent of its sales target at USD123.5 million for the entire year.
The agency expressed optimism that it would meet the target, banking on the sales it will generate come the Christmas season, where arrivals are also expected to hit high.
“I am optimistic. ‘Pagdating ng December, iba ang share ng sales niyan, mataas talaga ‘yan dahil ‘yung Christmas ay cine-celebrate sa Pilipinas. Malaki ang share sa Ber months (When December comes, the share of sales is a bit different, it’s really high because Christmas is celebrated here in the Philippines. The shares during Ber months are often high),” said Rosalie Dinoy of the DFPC Legal Affairs Office in an interview on Friday.
Before the global health crisis, the DFPC achieved USD226.3 million in sales in 2019.
With borders shuttered during the pandemic, sales went down to USD62.5 million in 2020, USD34.5 million in 2021, and USD67.3 million last year.
DFPC said it hopes to make a rebound and reach USD204 million by 2025.
“The target for the return to pre-pandemic is 2025. Ngayon medyo nakalabas na sa survival. The fact that (we are) now operating in 2023 (means) naka-survive na kami. Kaya lang ‘yung pag-continue para maka-reach ng level ng pre-pandemic that’s a different challenge (We can say we’re past survival stage based on the fact that we are now operating in 2023. But the matter of reaching the pre-pandemic level figures, that’s a different challenge),” Dinoy said.
“For now, mayroon ding movements in the offices so ‘yung mga measures to make sure that the business is profitable. We want to have Duty Free gain back its stature in the past. Dati kasi ‘pag may dumating magdu-Duty Free, excited sila, gusto namin bumalik iyon (there is also movements in the offices so those are the measures to make sure that the business is profitable. We want to have Duty Free gain back its stature in the past. Back then, people were excited to shop at Duty Free whenever they return to the Philippines),” she added.
Dinoy said DFPC has been securing suppliers amid the supply-chain woes.
“May problema rin sa supply chain, I think production-wise and also allocations (There are problems in the supply chain, I think production-wise and also with the allocations). Of course, you’ll go first to the big ones,” she explained.
“We’re now in the process of getting suppliers to make sure that when tourists arrive, we have merchandise for sale,” she added.
Dinoy said the DFPC is working to improve its shops, with one “coming up” in Bacolod-Silay International Airport.
She however, declined to comment on the ongoing restructuring within the company.
The DOT under the Marcos administration seeks to develop the country’s shopping tourism as returning Filipinos and foreign tourists start pouring in after months of lockdown due to the pandemic.
Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco earlier said, the passage of the value-added tax (VAT) refund measure for non-resident visitors would also boost the said tourism product and contribute to the sector’s recovery.
DFPC, for its part, vowed to fully support mechanisms that will bring in more tourists, including the VAT refund.
Duty Free Philippines stores are located at the Fiesta Mall in Parañaque; Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminals 1, 2, and 3; Luxe at SM Mall of Asia; Mactan Cebu International Airport; Iloilo International Airport; Kalibo International Airport; Clark International Airport and Hilton Clark Sunvalley Resort. (PNA)