As the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference drew to a close last week, all figures confirmed that the event had been an unmitigated success. An impressive 6,812 visitors attended the event, an increase of 6% on last year. They represented a total of 3,031 companies, up 2% from 2,948 in 2016. The number of agents was down slightly at 2,391 from 1,127 companies a 4% decrease versus 2016. However, the total number of visiting operators and landlords, a key category essential to the success of the event, was up 6% compared to 2016 at 2,262. They represented 642 companies, a similar number to last year’s figure.
TFWA’s new Digital Village was a talking point of the show, and it made an encouraging debut, attracting 33 exhibitors, and 1,361 visitors (1,487 including exhibitors).
The other statistics around the conference also bode well for the future of the duty free and travel retail business. The exhibition occupied a total of 22,607m2, up 0.6% compared to 2016 when the exhibition extended to 22,475m2. This year there were 514 exhibiting companies compared to 492 companies in 2016 (+4.5%), across 490 stands compared with 472 stands last year (+3.8%). This includes 16 official boats in Harbour Village, and 63 exhibitors who were new or returning companies.
The ONE2ONE meeting service was once again a great success, and for the main show 302 pre-arranged meetings were scheduled compared to 220 last year (+38%). For the TFWA Digital Village, 163 pre-arranged meetings were planned.
The conference at the beginning of the week was attended by a record 1,643 participants. There was ‘standing room’ only when 237 early risers came to the Digital Focus Workshop on Monday, compared to 153 attendees at the comparable event in 2016, and 145 attendees in 2015.
On Wednesday morning, the Inflight Focus Workshop was attended by 195 delegates compared with 174 last year. An audience of 54 came to a workshop outlining TFWA’s latest research findings on non-shoppers and the fast-growing East Asian cruise retail market on Wednesday evening. A new addition to the programme, TFWA Digital Village Ideas Lab, was attended by 93 people on Friday morning.
As ever, the social events surrounding the exhibition and conference were a resounding success. 106 keen runners and walkers took part in the TFWA Charity Run along the La Croisette with all proceeds raised going to SAMU Social of Cannes, a charity which helps the homeless and needy. The golf tournament, hosted with support from Estee Lauder, was once again a sporting highlight, with 91 participants teeing off this year. 38 budding sailors took to the waves in the regatta courtesy of Paul & Shark, while 31 people enjoyed a relaxing yoga session on the Majestic Hotel jetty courtesy of Rituals and 84 players competed in the pétanque. All numbers were up, and next year TFWA will be reviewing its plans so that it can accommodate more people.
The Opening Cocktail at The Carlton Beach on Sunday welcomed 1,642 guests. As always, it was a great opening night, the finale of which was a spectacular firework display, courtesy of the City of Cannes. The first TFWA Digital Village Opening Cocktail at The Majestic on Tuesday was very well attended, with 230 guests. The high point of the week was Le Premium Evening. 824 people thoroughly enjoyed this spectacular event where they were entertained by the very talented Véronic DiCaire. The Scene remained a popular venue, attracting more people than in previous years.
Commenting on the visual campaign celebrating 70 years of duty free this year, Juul-Mortensen said that it was “an excellent way to convey to travellers and opinion-formers around the world the importance of duty free and travel retail. The support from various airports and operators has been extremely encouraging and we look forward to welcoming more to join this very important campaign."