Chinese visitors outraged by duty-free 'discrimination' at Heathrow Airport

Heathrow reports busiest January ever, handled 133000 tonnes of air cargo

The post, which has been viewed more than 10 million times, has stirred outrage on Chinese social media, reports Chinese news portal Huanqiu.

The issue was raised after a Chinese student who was working at the airport posted about the offer on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

"I asked why. the cashier said because she is Chinese; if she is Chinese, she has to spend £1,000 to get the VIP voucher", Ren Jian Nai Pao wrote.

But the retailer's apology has sparked further anger, with critics saying there are some marked differences between the English and Chinese versions.

The company also stated that the implementation of the promotion "has been confusing which we sincerely regret", and has "taken urgent steps to correct the implementation of this promotion going forward".

World Duty Free has now said in a statement on Weibo it has altered the offer so it does not mean Chinese people have to pay more, following an investigation.

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"We have been made aware of this offer which we find unacceptable", the spokesperson said. "The program applies regardless of the destination customers are flying to", said the statement.

Delia Williams, a spokeswoman for the world's second busiest airport, said: "We find this [practice] unacceptable.We are now working with our commercial partner to understand how this happened and ensure it does not happen again".

"We are grateful for the comments shared on social media today regarding our VIP voucher scheme". The salesman wrote that a British colleague told him later that other nationalities had only needed to spend £79 to qualify for the vouchers.

"I've been in England for seven years".

@QianyunZhu_zqy tweeted: "Shame on you World Duty Free!"

The duty free shopping brand was alleged to have discriminated against Chinese travellers at the United Kingdom airport with its VIP voucher programme. In 2016, Chinese tourists spent a record US$261 billion on overseas trips, up 12 per cent from the year before, according to figures from the World Tourism Organisation, a United Nations tourism-promotion agency.

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