Global milestones - a time line of our company history
1980 - Sweden Tax Free Shopping founded – offered by 6,000 retailers.
1985 - Operations expand to Norway and Finland.
1986 - Operations expand to West Germany – affiliated retailers reach 17,000.
1987 - Operations start in the UK, Austria, Holland and Portugal.
1989 - Operations start in France, Belgium and Luxembourg.
1990 - Sweden Tax Free Shopping becomes Europe Tax Free Shopping (ETS). Denmark and Italy join; 50,000 retailers in 13 countries now offer Tax Free Shopping.
1993 - The European Union drops borders between member states. The company’s international refund network begins to serve travellers at their final departure from the EU. ETS expands to Spain, Hungary, Greece and Slovenia and some four million international shoppers benefit from the system.
1996 - Business established in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Ireland, Turkey and Croatia. More than six million tourists served by the network. The number of affiliated retailers exceeds 100,000.
1997 - Operations start in Singapore, the company's first non-EU market.
1998 - To serve increasing demand from Japanese travellers, promotional and Refund Office networks are set up in Japan. Europe Tax Free Shopping changes its name to Global Refund to reflect its international reach.
1999 - Three new markets open: Argentina, Korea and Poland. Eight million travellers receive refunds through Global Refund, while the number of affiliated retailers reaches 140,000.
2001 - Global Refund Dynamic Currency Conversion service (initially named First Currency Choice) is introduced. This new service enables travellers to pay in their own currency at the point of sale.
2002 - Global Refund enters the Chinese market and opens Refund Offices in Beijing and Shanghai. Tax refund operations start in Canada and Lebanon. Nearly 10 million international travellers use Global Refund services.
2004 - Global Refund Dynamic Currency Conversion begins in Thailand, the fourth non-EU country to offer the service. Ten new states join the European Union. Global Refund opens operations in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia and now covers the entire EU.
2006 - Dynamic Currency Conversion launches in Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Iceland and Spain.
2007 - Global Refund introduces Transaction Solutions, an integrated transaction processing system. Tax Free Shopping is introduced to frequent shoppers living in Switzerland and shopping in Germany.
2008/09 - Global Refund continues to grow despite the global recession. Value is now more important than ever.
2010 - The Global Blue brand is launched to reflect the multi-dimensional nature of the company, which now encompasses a range of services, including: Intelligence; Advertising & Awareness; Direct Promotions; OneInterface (our technology solution); and the Global Blue Academy, alongside Currency Choice and Tax Free Shopping. Global Blue focuses on travellers as well as merchants to maximise the benefits for both.
2011 – Our Intelligence division launches three new products, The Briefing, The Review, and The Dossier; eTRS, the Electronic Tax Refund System begins in partnership with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore; the Globe Shopper City Index is created in conjunction with the Economist Intelligence Unit; Tax Free and Currency Choice arrive in Australia; Currency Choice launches in Taiwan.