Sales of duty free wines and spirits are under threat following the release of a strategic paper containing a proposal for a worldwide ban on duty free liquor.

According to Trend News, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) report is called Strategies To Reduce The Harmful Use Of Alcohol.

It is a draft global strategy, proposing that all international travellers buying alcohol should pay the same tax as is applicable on the relevant domestic market.

The worldwide duty free alcohol market was valued over $6.3 billion in 2008.  European Travel Retail Council (ETRC) secretary general Keith Spinks told Trend-news that the industry has less than five months to oppose the proposal which is due to be ratified by the WHO’ executive board in May.

Spinks said that while the proposal had been expected in the long term, the inclusion of the clause in this particular report had been a surprise.

“It is extremely worrying and we have got to get this message out to the industry worldwide and we have also got to talk to other stakeholder organisations, such as those representing the liquor industry to make sure that they have picked this up and that they are going to start working on it.

“If we are going to have any chance of getting this off the table completely, then we have got to do it before May, because once it is adopted at the World Health Assembly then that’s it,” Spinks told Trend-news.

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