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Sun shines during a great week at the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference

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6,443 visitors attended the event, down only 2% from 6,558 last year, and a healthy figure under the circumstances. They represented a total of 2,948 companies, down from 3,026 and by 3% in 2015.

Last year TFWA president Erik Juul-Mortensen closed the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference with a comment on how buoyant the mood had been. And at this year’s closing press conference, he said that despite the challenges the industry had faced, the atmosphere was still upbeat.

6,443 visitors attended the event, down only 2% from 6,558 last year, and a healthy figure under the circumstances. They represented a total of 2,948 companies, down from 3,026 and by 3% in 2015. However the number of visitors from the key categories of duty free operators, travel retail operators, landlords and agents was up from 4,625 in 2016 compared with 4,584 in 2015, with 1,811 companies represented compared with 1,788 last year.

The other statistics around the conference were also cause for optimism for the future of the duty free and travel retail business. The exhibition occupied a total of 22,475.55m2 space, up 2.9% compared to 2015 at 21,840m2. This year there were 492 exhibiting brands on 472 stands, including 10 official boats in Harbour Village. This is an increase of 2.1% compared to last year when there were 482 exhibiting brands on 462 stands. For the first time this year, Beach Village featured two marquees. 59 of this year’s exhibitors were new or returning companies.

New to Cannes this year, the ONE2ONE meeting service has proved to be a welcome addition, and 220 meetings were arranged for 36 visitors and 94 exhibiting companies.

The conference at the beginning of the week was attended by a record 1,634 delegates, an increase of 8.6% from the figure in 2015. Opening the proceedings, Erik Juul-Mortensen said that there were reasons for cautious optimism and likened himself to former British prime minister Harold Wilson, who stated that he was an optimist, but always carried an umbrella.

CEO of Dufry, Julian Diaz Gonzalez then took to the stage to outline his perspective on how travel retail is evolving. He highlighted how a more experience driven, personalised offer was required to attract the all-important Millennial traveller.

Randi Zuckerberg, an influential authority on the development of technology and how it shapes consumer behaviour, outlined a concept she termed ‘dot complicated’. She explored how new technology offers us opportunity, but also creates fresh challenges and complications.

David Miliband, president and chief executive of the International Rescue Committee and former UK foreign secretary, provided a fascinating big-picture perspective on a changing world. He cited the reasons why the world is currently in such a chaotic state; the world has never been a global market like the one that currently exists, economics and politics are pulling in opposite directions, globalisation is exhibiting structural weakness, and the political status quo is changing.

A series of workshops throughout the week provided plenty of insight into a range of topical issues. On Tuesday morning 153 early risers, 5.5% more than last year, gathered to hear about the potential of the Russian market. On Wednesday morning, an inflight focus workshop was attended by 174 delegates, a rise of 9.4% compared with last year. And finally on Wednesday evening, an audience of 89, 2.3% more than last year, came to a workshop outlining TFWA’s latest research findings.

The social scene surrounding the exhibition and conference has also been a great success. The opening cocktail on Sunday welcomed 1,737 guests, which is a record high. 87 players competed in the petanque tournament, while 111 enthusiastic runners took part in the third TFWA Charity Run which raised 1,765 euros for TFWA Care and Samu Social Cannes. The golf tournament was, as ever, fully booked at a very early stage, and the two new leisure activities were well attended; 39 participants took to the waves in the regatta while 25 yogis enjoyed a relaxing yoga session on the Majestic Hotel jetty.

Erik Juul-Mortensen summed up the week by saying; "The success of this week, and the colour of the mood around the exhibition halls and in the conference, goes to show that we have much to feel good about in the coming months and years."

TFWA elects new board and management committee
TFWA announced the election of its new board and management committee. New board members are Bacardi Global Travel Retail’s Aude Bourdier-Rocourt as vice president commercial, Gerry Munday from Furla SPA as vice-president marketing, and Luxottica Group’s Francis Gros as vice-president conferences & research. They join Frederic Garcia-Pelayo from Interparfums and Alessandra Visconti from Reflecta SAS, who retain their respective positions as vice-president finance and vice-president corporate.

TFWA president Erik Juul-Mortensen thanked the members of the board and management committee who are moving on this year, in particular Thom Rankin, Carla Guiducci, and Patrick Bouchard. “All have contributed to the continued development and success of the association. Thom joined the board in 1991 as vice president conferences and research and has served the association with dedication and distinction. In his 25 years as a member of the board, Thom has helped to steer the association as the duty free and travel retail industry has evolved and grown. He has played a very significant role in making TFWA the relevant, contemporary and dynamic organisation it is today. Carla has served as vice president marketing, and Patrick in the capacity as vice president commercial, since 2012. I also offer them my sincere thanks.”

Commenting on the new team, he said; “Our new management committee and board will bring diverse expertise and fresh thinking to our association and our plans for the future. I thank them all for their commitment and dedication to our industry...”

The election of the 37 members of the management committee took place this week at TFWA World Exhibition & Conference, and their election or re-election was approved unanimously at the Annual General Meeting on Thursday 6th October.

The full committee is as follows:

The representatives of the wine and spirits category are Patrick Bouchard, Albert Bichot; Aude Bourdier-Rocourt, Bacardi Global Travel Retail; Nick Mogford, Brown Forman; Jean-Luc Lebault, H. Mounier; Damien Bertrand, Maison Boinaud SAS; Donatienne de Fontaines-Guillaume, Moet Hennessy; Franc Kopatin, Stock Spirits Group; Rajiv Bhatia, William Grant & Sons.

Representing the tobacco category are Jennifer Cords, Imperial Tobacco, Gemma Bateson, JT International SA, and Martin Kaufmann, Oettinger Davidoff AG.

The fragrances and cosmetics category is represented by Jean-Guillaume Trouvin, Chanel SAS; Damien Tonneau, Clarins; Paolo Bevegni, Collistar; Philippe Margueritte, Coty; Susan Fox, Estee Lauder Companies; Frederic Garcia-Pelayo, Interparfums; Jerome Desouches, La Colline; Richard Cymberg, L'Oreal Produits De Luxe International, Priscilla Beaulieu, Kaloo, Clayeux, Kokeshi by Millennium Fragrances; Antoine Lafourcade, Puig International, SA; Neil Ebbutt, Rituals Cosmetics.

The representatives of fashion, accessories and leather goods are Romina Cortegiani, Bally; Emanuele Mazziotta, Coccinelle; Silvia Santin, Etro; Gerry Munday, Furla SPA; Francis Gros, Luxottica Group; Massimo Barzaghi, Salvatore Ferragamo.

The jewellery, watches and clocks category is represented by Nadia Skouri Garcia-Pelayo, Buying The Sky, and Alessandra Visconti, Reflecta SAS.

Representing gifts, home decoration, pens and electronics are Thom Rankin, Capi Global BV, Ralph Bou Nader, Genie-S International, and Sam Gerber, Worldconnect AG.

Confectionery and fine foods representatives are Patrick Dorais, Al Nassma Chocolate LLC; Steven Candries, Chocolaterie Guylian; Philip Geeraert, Neuhaus; Eric Carlier, Valrhona.

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