The Korea Herald

ssg
소아쌤

Shinsegae Duty Free, Cathay Pacific partner to draw in independent travelers

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : Dec. 19, 2023 - 14:43

    • Link copied

Ryu Sin-yul (right), CEO of Shinsegae Duty Free and Paul Smitton, CEO of Asia Miles Limited, pose for a photo upon signing a memorandum of understanding in Seoul, Tuesday. (Shinsegae DF) Ryu Sin-yul (right), CEO of Shinsegae Duty Free and Paul Smitton, CEO of Asia Miles Limited, pose for a photo upon signing a memorandum of understanding in Seoul, Tuesday. (Shinsegae DF)

Shinsegae Duty Free, Korea's leading duty-free brand, said Tuesday it has joined hands with Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific to establish a membership mileage partnership program. This marks the first time for a domestic duty-free company to enter into a marketing agreement with a global air carrier.

The strategic move is aimed at drawing in more individual tourists to duty-free shops, responding to the changing trend of those visiting Korea. Whereas previously there were more tourists from China who came as a group, now there are more individual tourists, including those hailing from Europe and Southeast Asia.

Starting in February next year, Cathay Pacific's more than 10 million acting members can redeem their airline mileage points for shopping at Shinsegae DF shops upon arrival in South Korea.

Shinsegae DF anticipates that the partnership will generate more than $16 million in annual sales, concurrently setting a target to increase the number of individual tourists utilizing its duty-free shops by 30 percent in 2024 compared to this year.

"This business agreement with Cathay is expected to serve as a successful starting point for Shinsegae Duty Free's global reach," said Ryu Sin-yul, CEO of Shinsegae DF, during a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday. "With today's partnership, we will continue to make new and challenging attempts to provide better and different services to our clients."

The strategic move is part of Shinsegae DF's proactive response to embrace the emerging trend of "free independent travelers," referring to travelers who prefer to plan their own itinieraries rather than go on pre-organized trips or group tours facilitated by travel agencies.

Shinsegae DF is prioritizing these autonomous travelers as one of its key management strategies for the upcoming year. Through the partnership, the company also aims to convert Cathay members of diverse nationalities into Shinsegae DF customers.

Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific, as Hong Kong's largest airline and global top 10 carrier, is leveraging its mileage program, Asia Miles, to pursue a premium travel and lifestyle brand.

The initiative encompasses various categories such as shopping, dining and wellness, aligning with the airline's commitment to providing an enhanced travel experience for its passengers.

Cathay Pacific has serviced South Korea for 63 years since 1960, and currently operates four daily direct flights connecting Seoul and Hong Kong.