The title says it all. When flying international, for some reason there is only duty free stores after going through passport control before taking off, and never any stores before going through passport control after landing. Why is that?

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  • There are at some airports, Manchester had one on my most recent arrival but it was alot smaller then then ones in departures. I'd assume it's due to the potential customers. In departures there is a large group of people with nothing better to do then shop, in arrivals people.just want to get to their final destination. – skifans Aug 16 '17 at 0:44
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    Because if you buy an imported item and consume/use that item in the same country it is subject to import duty and taxes of that country. Selling duty free to arriving passengers essentially violates this concept. Some arrival area "duty free" are better called tax free since all you are saving is sales tax as the items have already paid the import duties. – user13044 Aug 16 '17 at 1:03
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    "Never"? Certainly I know both New Zealand and Australia have a duty-free gauntlet to run before entry passport control. You can see this for example in melbourneairport.com.au/docs/t2-ground-floor-300517.pdf where there is a "Duty Free" area marked in the top left corner of that map, before Customs. – Greg Hewgill Aug 16 '17 at 1:03
  • Reykjavik (e.g. Keflavik) has one. (and if you want some beer in Iceland it is recommended that you buy it there after arrival) – Neusser Aug 16 '17 at 8:02
  • @Neusser: Trondheim, Norway has the same, and in my experience flying into there everyone stopped to buy some alcoholic beverages. – Michael Lugo Aug 16 '17 at 14:13

Because you don't land at the right airports.

Several British airports have Duty Free on arrival, certainly Heathrow from my personal experience and I believe Manchester. I've heard of others.

There is a legal issue there. Duty free shops are usually allowed to not charge duty on the assumption that the purchases will be exported. It's one reason the sellers ask to see your boarding card, to check you are on an international flight. An arrivals duty free needs to be explicitly enabled by legislation exempting them from taxes on sales to arrivals. Not all countries may be willing to pass that legislation.

  • You don't have to fly international to be allowed to shop at a duty free in Germany. They run big ads saying "anyone who flies will be allowed to shop here". I actually never got the concept, to be honest. Also good are usually not really cheaper than whan you can buy on the Internet. Sometimes even more expensive, for example chocolate and sweets. I htink they make a living from the old times where there really were taxes or custom duties to save. – TorstenS Aug 16 '17 at 6:57
  • @TorstenS , the concept is simply that there is no savings. It's just a normal shop with normal (or higher) prices, and they make money on people that think 'duty free' is still a thing. – Aganju Aug 16 '17 at 11:09
  • @TorstenS Until some 15 years ago, duty free purchases were also allowed on intra-EU flights. After that, many of the traditional duty-free shops on the airports in Germany were rebranded as 'travel value' shops or simply kept their duty-free labels even if purchases there are liable to the same taxation as anywhere else in Germany. As you say, these shops are usually more expensive than what you would pay for the same merchandise elsewhere. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Aug 16 '17 at 12:42

Arriving in Oslo and Reykjavik, there is duty free (mostly alcohol) to purchase on arrival before entering customs.

Arriving in Buenos Aires, there is duty free on arrival (mostly foreign electronic goods) before entering customs.

(As has been stated) Heathrow Terminal 5 has a small duty free collection of alcohol and perfume on arrival.

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