In Spain, 40% of non-EU cruise passengers do not recover the VAT on their purchases because there is no way to deal with the refund right at the port, according to international Tax Free operator Global Blue. This points to the big business involved in this market which brought in some 1.5 billion Euros to Spain last year.
These non-EU tourists who, before leaving Spain, must have their receipts – known as Tax Free Forms – stamped in order to get a tax refund, find that they cannot easily process them in the port facilities but must go to the airport, where there are queues and insufficient information provided.
Because of this, up to one in four non-EU cruiser passengers return home without the tax refund, i.e. twice as many as other non-EU tourists.
For Global Blue, which processes more than 35 million tax refunds every year, overcoming administrative obstacles like this one would help make Spain a really attractive destination for the more profitable cruise passengers.
Providing a shopping experience that meets their expectations will help add not only volume but also quality to Spain’s tourism. In this area, data from Global Blue shows that non-EU visitors are the 'candy' for the tourism industry because of their high spending level.
Specifically, they brought 1.5 billion Euros to the country last year, with Asians being the most profitable with an average ticket purchase of approximately 1,000 Euros, followed by the Russians with 535 Euros.
At the time when technology rules, Global Blue is making a firm move to digitize and facilitate the VAT refund process, as happens in other European countries.