Heathrow duty free Chinese discrimination ‘unacceptable’

Chinese shoppers were offered different rates to non-Chinese travellersImage copyright
Getty Images

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Chinese shoppers were offered different rates to non-Chinese travellers

Heathrow Airport have said a duty free discount event run by its commercial partner World Duty Free which offered different rates to Chinese as well as non-Chinese customers at the weekend was “unacceptable”.

Chinese travellers were asked to pay a minimum spend of £1,000 ($1,381) to receive a 20% discount, while various other shoppers paid £250 to receive the same offer.

Users on China’s social media platform Weibo shared their outrage after the policy was revealed on a blog viewed over 10 million times, as well as one person posted a picture of a flyer, in Chinese, offering the discount to tourists spending over £1,000.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of This particular offer which we find unacceptable.

“We are currently working with our commercial partner to understand how This particular happened as well as ensure the item does not happen again.”

World Duty Free posted online: “We are grateful for the comments shared on social media today regarding our VIP voucher scheme.

“We have investigated This particular straight away as well as have identified an issue which we have corrected with immediate effect. The programme applies regardless of the destination customers are flying to.”

Image copyright
Renjian Naipao

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One user shared a picture of a Chinese language flyer offering discount for shoppers

Visits by Chinese tourists to the UK increased by 33% in 2017, with estimated spending of £667 million, according to UK tourist authority Visit Britain.

Details of the event first emerged on Saturday when Weibo user @Renjiannaipao posted a claim on his blog that will, when working as a salesman at the planet Duty Free shop, he witnessed Chinese tourists being treated unfairly.

He accompanied a Chinese traveller to a counter to enquire about the discount as well as a cashier explained Chinese passengers should pay £1,000 to qualify, which was confirmed by a store manager, he said.

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The post was shared more than 75,000 times as well as various other travellers responded with their experiences, some vowing not to shop at duty free again.

“I shopped [at World Duty Free] at Terminal 2 as well as I was told I should spend £450 to be eligible for the voucher,” user @Yunxiaoyunyaohaohaodushu commented, while @GakkerrQ said they, too, had a “bad shopping experience” at the airport last week.

Image copyright
People’s Daily, China

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National Chinese newspaper People’s Daily also covered the story

Many Weibo as well as Facebook users said they felt disrespected because of their ethnicity.

“Whatever happened will be disgraceful as well as racial discrimination. You think Chinese are rich as well as stupid? I am so disappointed with Heathrow International Airport,” wrote Steven Li on Facebook.

“Imagine if This particular was another race, This particular incident would certainly have already been a huge talking point,” read one comment which received 2,000 likes.

“Chinese people are not respected outside of the country,” added another user, while one asked, “Where do Chinese people go to get respect?”

Others linked the incident to the growing spending power of Chinese tourists.

“Chinese tourists have internationally become synonymous with the phrase ‘silly money,'” one user wrote.

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