State-run India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) is making a comeback in the duty-free shops business.
In a fresh round of bidding to set up and run duty-free shops, ITDC has bid for eight shops in as many airports across the country.
“We would like to come back in the duty-free business segment. It is a sure way to generate revenue for ITDC,” a senior ITDC official who did not want to be identified told Hindustan Times.
“We have now bid for duty-free shops at airports in Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Amritsar, Goa, Chennai, Coimbatore, Kozhikode and Kochi,” he said.
The official said, “After we win at some of the eight airports, ITDC would collaborate with Spanish group Al Desa to furnish and stock up the shops.”
ITDC’s monopoly in the duty-free segment ended in 2003 after its bids for some airports were disqualified by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) on the ground that it had not paid dues of about Rs 20 crore. The dispute has not been resolved yet but is on the backburner, ITDC officials say.
After the Delhi and Mumbai airports were given to private developers, ITDC did not bid for these duty-free shops. But now the field is wide open for other venues, especially those involving private developers.
“We will bid for other new and upcoming international airports,” the official said.
Regarding Kolkata and Chennai airports, which are now being upgraded and modernised by the AAI, the official said Kolkata would not be profitable for ITDC and was yet to take a decision about bidding for Chennai airport.
The shops will sell liquor, perfumes, cosmetics, cigars, chocolates, packed food items and handicrafts.