NEW DELHI: Whether you are travelling abroad for a business meet or leisure, a stop at the Delhi Duty Free shop at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport enroute the boarding gate has now become mandatory for most travellers.
Thanks to the attractive deals and a wide range of products the outlet offers, the international flight boarding pass has become a ticket to an exciting session of shopping.
While the frequent travellers prefer to book their favourite items at Delhi Duty Free before boarding their flight to take advantage of a 10 per cent extra discount, others take pictures of the products with their smartphones or take a mental note of the prices of the things that they want to buy so that they can compare the prices at duty free shops at their respective destinations.
But looking at the crowd queuing up at the payment counter on any given day, it can be easily gauged that many travellers eventually complete their liquor, chocolate or perfume shopping at Delhi Duty Free.
"I always used to prefer buying cigarettes and alcohol from Dubai Duty Free whenever I got a chance. But I have seen a sea change at Delhi Duty Free in the past couple of months. Many items are now available at reduced rates. It also frees me from the hassle of carrying duty free stuff during a long flight," S. Janaki, a frequent traveller from South Delhi, told IANS.
At the Delhi Duty Free website, a 1 litre bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label is listed at Rs 1,720. At Dubai Duty Free, which is believed to offer one of the best rates in the world, a half a litre bottle of the same spirit is listed at 50 AED which comes to about Rs 931, or Rs 1,863 for a 1 litre bottle.
"I find perfumes cheaper at Delhi Duty Free than anywhere else. Their collection has also improved in the recent past," said Meenakshi who lives in Noida.
A Delhi Duty Free official refused to comment at the moment.
Launched nine years ago, the Delhi Duty Free Services, commonly called DDFS, has a retail space of 4,380 square metre. It now boasts of over 1,000 brands.
It has a wide collection of malts and chocolates from countries like the US, Belgium, France, Mexico, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Ireland, among others. It also has an amazing perfumes and cosmetic collection from Kiehl's, Jo Malone, Chanel, Dior, Lancome, L'oreal Luxe and Estee Lauder, among others.
What has helped Delhi Duty Free grow its business is the increased brand awareness among Indian consumers and growth in the number of people travelling abroad due to rising income, good air fares, and discovery of new holiday destinations in East Europe.
At Delhi Duty Free, the deals get even sweeter for those travelling in groups.