It will not have escaped your notice that the current Brexit negations are in progress, and whilst it does appear to be going at a snail’s pace with no set in stone agreements yet having been negotiated, what many people are hoping for is that duty free sales will return once the UK has officially left the EU.
It was many years ago now that duty free sales of wines, cigarettes and alcohol and even perfume was stopped, which did hit both the ferry businesses and airlines quite hard.
What anyone in the UK could once do was take a trip over to France for example on a ferry, and as soon as the ferry was three miles out at sea the duty free shops were allowed to open, and anyone over the age of 18 could then purchase alcohol, cigarette, wines and perfume without having to pay any duty on those items.
However, duty free sales were outlawed as part of an EU agreement, and as such what a lot of Brits are hoping for is that as soon as the UK does officially finally leave the EU those duty free sales may return. Currently the taxes levied on things such as cigarettes in the UK is at an all time high, which means anyone who does enjoy a smoke does have to pay a small fortune each time they need to replenish their supply of cigarette from a local store.
What the UK has been experiencing however due to the high cigarette taxes is a large number of people smuggling in cigarettes from other European and some non-European countries were the taxes are much lower.
Many independent shops have been selling those cigarettes under the counter for a fraction of the cost of tax paid cigarettes, and that is something the UK Government has been trying to outlaw, with some hefty fines being given out to shops selling tax free cigarettes.
Booze cruises as they were known were also very popular with UK citizens, and many ferry operators would lay on special mini cruises to places such as Spain were people could take their car and spend a day or two at sea and stock up on their alcohol or cigarettes whilst also enjoying the facilities on the ferries.
However, we do know the UK Government will be eager to ensure that tax free goods are not going to be as readily available as they once were when duty free sales were permitted, and it will be interesting to see if during the Brexit negotiations something is agreed whereby the UK will not permit duty free sales once a ferry or plane is three miles off the coast of Britain.
It duty free sales do somehow return that will not only be beneficial to ferry operators and airlines who are going to be able to sell duty free goods again, but also some of the port towns around the UK who depend on visitors passing through their towns.