Turkey is not only a top sightseeing destination given its natural and cultural beauties, but it is also an attractive center for tourists who love shopping.
According to Global Blue Turkey, a company which provides a value added tax (VAT) refund service to tourists in Turkey, Saudis come first among tourists who shop the most in Turkey.
"The Saudi Arabians have applied for a refund for TL 31.9 million ($9.09 million) of the expenditures they made, recording an increase of 8 percent compared to the same period last year," said Selim Şeyhun, the general manager of Global Blue Turkey.
Şeyhun told Anadolu Agency that foreign tourists reached TL 400 million in shopping in Turkey during the first 4 months of this year, and that they have applied for a refund of TL 212.3 million.
He said the applied refund amount increased by 11 percent compared to the same period of the previous year. He added that although the number of transactions in this period stood at 145,968, the number of transactions declined by 11 percent.
He also pointed out that the tourists who shop the most in Turkey during this period are from Saudi Arabia, followed by Kuwait with TL 24.5 million, Iran with TL 21 million and Qatar with TL 14.6 million.
Amount of shopping by Chinese climbs 89 pct
Şeyhun said that with TL 13.7 million, the China is the fifth country to spend the most in Turkey, stating that the number of VAT refund transactions carried out by the Chinese in this period was 6,526.
He said that the amount of shopping rose 89 percent in the first 4 months of this year compared to the same period last year.
Explaining that 35-40 percent of tax-free sales in the world are made by the Chinese, Şeyhun said this number has increased to 6 percent in Turkey. Meanwhile he added that the Chinese mostly spend their money on luxury products.
"If the Chinese continue to come to Turkey and shop, there will be a revolution in the Turkish retail market. There are Chinese employees abroad in Milan and all the big brands in Paris. Markets are trying to provide better service due to the potential here," he continued, noting that those companies also provide training to sales teams in the cultural sense such as "how to make sales to the Chinese."
Amount of spending by Russians reaches TL 6.5 million
Global Blue Turkey General Manager Şeyhun said that the total expenditures made by foreigners in the first 4 months of this year in comparison to the same period last year indicate that the highest increase on a country basis was experienced in Russia.
"The number of transactions rose 152 percent, which directly corresponds to the arrival of Russian tourists," Şeyhun said, recalling that the amount of spending by the Russians surged 135 percent in this period.
He pointed out that the effect of the recovering relations with Russia could be seen in these increases, highlighting that the Russians had spent about TL 2.5 million in the first 4 months of last year, while this figure reached TL 6.5 million this year.
Digitization to reduce tax-free refund period to 6-7 minutes
Şeyhun recalled that tax-free system in Turkey will become digitized through e-billing platform as of July 1.
He informed that the tax-free return period is currently 17-18 minutes on average with customs, and that with the completion of the digitization process, this period could be reduced to 6-7 minutes.
Accordingly, VAT is collected between 8 percent and 18 percent depending on the product non-resident passengers bought from Turkey and took out of the country.
When the invoice or check is taken after the shopping at the tax-free member stores, the total amount of the shopping done from the same store must be at least 100 TL + VAT. The products purchased at the customs point when leaving Turkey and the passport are shown and the check is approved.
According to the refund selection at the store, the tax-free payment is deposited into a cash or credit card account.
ISTANBUL / DAILY SABAH WITH AA