Overseas tourists bound for the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region can obtain a refund for value-added taxes paid during their trip, as local authorities try to increase the lure of the region.
The refund policy will begin on Jan 1, according to the Xinjiang regional office of the State Administration of Taxation.
Fan Bingwu, head of the export and import tax management division at the office, said the new policy will increase the popularity of Xinjiang as a tourist destination.
“It will also increase tourism consumption in a positive way,” he said, adding that it will improve the vitality of the export-oriented economy in Xinjiang.
More than a dozen provincial areas have enacted tax refund policies for overseas tourists.
According to the new policy, foreigners and residents of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and Taiwan, who have stayed in China for 183 days or less, can enjoy the refund.
Tourists must have spent at least 500 yuan ($75) at a tax refund shop, and the purchase must not have been used or consumed. They must leave the country within 90 days after the purchase.
Eligible items must also be taken from the country, either through carry-on luggage or consignment, by the tourist.
Overseas tourists can apply for a refund of 11 percent of the total of their purchases at tax refund shops. They can apply at customs before the refund is completed by a tax refund agency, which may add commission.
There are currently eight tax-refund shops in six cities or prefectures in the region, according to the office.
The region’s tourism industry was hit hard in 2013 and 2014 because of a fear of random terrorist attacks. It started to slowly bounce back last year, when it welcomed a 15.7 percent increase in domestic tourists.
The region received 1.61 million inbound trips by overseas tourists in the first nine months of this year, according to the regional bureau of tourism.