Shinsegae Duty Free forms strategic alliance with Cathay Pacific to drive passenger spend

Cathay Asia Miles CEO Paul Smitton and Shinsegae Duty Free CEO Shin In-yeol pose for a photo after the MOU signing ceremony in Seoul

SOUTH KOREA. Shinsegae Duty Free has struck a strategic partnership with Cathay Pacific to roll out a membership mileage partnership scheme.

Under this agreement, Cathay Pacific passengers will be able to make purchases at Shinsegae Duty Free using their mileage points.

The first marketing partnership between a Korean travel retailer and a major global airline, the programme is designed to attract foreign independent travellers to shop at duty free stores in South Korea.

To celebrate the collaboration, the partners held a signing ceremony at the Westin Josun Seoul on 19 December.

The transformative alliance aims to drive the comprehensive transformation of the travel and duty free market, with a focus on the evolving preferences of tourists around the world.

Celebrating this powerhouse alliance are (from left): Cathay Pacific Country Manager Korea Donald Morris; Cathay Pacific Lifestyle Partnership-Mileage Head Natalie Fung; Paul Smitton; Shin In-yeol; Shinsegae Duty Free Executive Vice President Hojin Yang; and Shinsegae Duty Free Senior Vice President Gunil Son

To address the evolving traveller behaviour and preferences, marked by an upswing in individual tourism and a shift towards experiential journeys, the Korean travel retailer is now capitalising on these changing travel paradigms.

Citing recent data from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the proportion of independent foreign travellers visiting Korea has increased to 85% in the third quarter of this year, compared to 77% in pre-pandemic 2019.

With a projected annual revenue of US$16 million, Shinsegae Duty Free aims to capture more foreign travellers with an ambitious target of a +30% increase in the number of individual tourists visiting its stores in 2024, compared to this year.

This partnership is expected to set up a vast global network involving 800 partners affiliated with the airline company. It also aims to increase customer engagement, improve benefits and enhance customer satisfaction.

Aside from its duty free outlets, the travel retailer is leveraging the airline’s extensive global channels and financial institutions to strengthen the presence of the Shinsegae brand among global travellers.

Starting February 2024, Shinsegae Duty Free will extend Miles affiliate services and exclusive benefits to Cathay’s 10 million members. For every purchase worth KRW1,000 (US$0.77), Asia Miles members will earn one Asia Mile, increasing to an additional 250 Asia Miles for purchases exceeding 300,000 won (US$231). These accrued miles can be used across 90,000 locations with approximately 800 global partners.

In addition, Cathay members will be eligible for special discounts and shopping subsidies, including e-vouchers with diverse coupons at Shinsegae Duty Free. Even non-Cathay members flying to Korea via the airline can expect to receive exclusive e-vouchers featuring Shinsegae Duty Free shopping subsidies.

Shinsegae Duty Free CEO Shin In-yeol said: “This partnership marks the initiation of Shinsegae Duty Free’s global aspirations. As the demand for overseas travel continues to soar, we are committed to pioneering new endeavors and maintaining our position as a leading force in the duty free industry.”

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