SOUTH KOREA. Amid growing anticipation of a widespread resumption of overseas travel, Lotte Duty Free has launched a ‘Travel is Coming’ promotion to strengthen benefits for Korean customers.
On 18 April the government eased stringent social restrictions that have been in place for 25 months, ushering in a long-anticipated age of ‘living with COVID’.
The promotion runs from 22 April to 31 May in parallel with major existing marketing events. It includes various online and offline incentives such as additional LDF PAY (loyalty points that can be used as cash for purchases), a dynamic exchange rate compensation programme, and a reward scheme for frequent shopping.
Lotte Duty Free CEO Lee Kap announced the Travel is Coming online to offline shopping festival, describing it as a stimulus measure to boost shopping by Korean travellers.
The retailer has been in marketing overdrive since March, giving out up to KRW2 million (US$1,615) worth of LDF PAY to local customers and selling famous international brands at up to -80% off. In addition to this, up to KRW60,000 (US$48) in LDF PAY was presented to shoppers according to the amount they spent.
Lotte is also hosting what it called the ‘Dynamic Exchange Rate Compensation Event’. This takes into account the Won-Dollar exchange rate, which has been affected by the latter’s strong recent trend. Under the scheme LDF PAY benefits are made to customers according to the exchange rate at the time and the amount spent at the Lotte Duty Free downtown store.
When the Dollar exchange rate rises above KRW1,250 and sits below KRW1,300, a maximum of KRW20,000 (US$16.15) is provided. When the dollar exchange rate exceeds KRW1,300, a maximum of KRW35,000 (US$28.30) is offered.
Lotte has also unveiled a range of benefits for online shoppers. Payments in Lotte Internet Duty Free Shop The Dream Money (US$25) and Kakao Pay (up to US$45) are being presented. Online membership level is also upgraded to the higher PURPLE status during the promotion period.
An overseas travel kit is also provided as a gift. Three eco-friendly plastic-free soaps will be presented to customers who spend over US$200 at the Lotte Duty Free downtown store or US$100 at an Incheon International Airport shop.
Until 30 June, frequency of purchase incentives will be offered. LDF PAY KRW30,000 (US$24.25) will be presented to customers who complete a total of six stamps. However, in order to receive benefits, travel departure and delivery of purchased products must be completed by 28 June. Customers who have completed the frequency will have the chance to win a variety of benefits such as LG Standby Me and an Apple Watch through a lottery.
Special benefits for wedding customers travelling on their honeymoon are also being presented. An offline level VIP Gold upgrade; LDF PAY of up to KRW50,000 (US$40.40); and US$175 in Internet Duty Free Shop The Dream Money will also be paid. Affiliate services such as roaming are also discounted.
Lotte Duty Free Head of Marketing Division Lee Sang-jin said, “We have expanded the benefits for customers who visit Lotte Duty Free with the expectation of unrestricted overseas travel and the resumption of normal daily life.”
COVID cases tumble; flights on the rise
South Korea reported 90,836 new locally transmitted coronavirus cases on 21 April, continuing the recent sharp fall in infections since the omicron-driven peak of 621,178 cases on 17 March.
Today’s figure, courtesy of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), is 57,558 cases, or -38.7% down from just one week ago, according to The Korea Herald.
Airlines are responding positively to the lifting of travel restrictions. Air Busan, the budget arm of Asiana Airlines, announced this week that it will restore five new international routes next month as pent-up demand is unleashed, The Korea Herald reported.
Air Busan began offering one flight per week to Saipan in late January following a travel bubble agreement between South Korea and Saipan. On 16 March it added another flight to Saipan and relaunched the Busan-Qingdao route.
Next month it will open routes from Incheon to Osaka, Tokyo, Guam, Nha Trang in Vietnam, and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia upon government approval.
The government will authorise a further 100 weekly flights to a range of destinations in the US, Europe, Thailand and Singapore, where quarantine exemptions and visa-free entry are possible.
Inbound travellers are now exempt from the seven-day quarantine requirement, only needing to to submit negative PCR test results upon their arrival and 48 hours before departure.