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TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference 2023

The 2023 TFWA Asia Pacific Conference was held in the Grand Ballroom, Level 5, at Marina Bay Sands Expo Centre on Monday 8th May 2023, and featured a full and inspiring programme. With networking remaining a top priority for many in the industry, this year’s event – which returns to a full-scale format – offers participants a plethora of opportunities for formal and informal meetings. 

The Welcome Cocktail begins at 19:30 on Sunday evening and takes place at the spectacular Flower Dome, at the Gardens by the Bay. From 21:00 delegates attending will have the chance to enjoy exclusive night-time access to the Flower Dome’s stunning display of over 32,000 plants - the venue was dramatic, the mood was festive, and everyone was truly elated given the return of a full-scale TFWA event after the pandemic.

After a number of years apart, face-to-face networking was clearly a priority. 1,016 guests attended TFWA’s ‘Welcome Cocktail’ event at the Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, while over 500 guests enjoyed the TFWA Asia Pacific Lounge each evening.

The TFWA Asia Pacific Conference opened with an address from TFWA President Erik Juul-Mortensen, who shared his views on the recovery of travel retail in Asia Pacific as international travel restarts. This was followed by welcome remarks from APTRA President, Sunil Tuli and Executive Vice President of China Duty Free Group, Luke Chang. 

In the opening plenary session our keynote speaker, Singapore’s former Foreign Minister, George Yeo explored issues including intra-regional trade, the role and influence of China, and the importance of travel and tourism to the region. 

A panel featuring Luke Chang, Executive Vice President of China Duty Free Group, Freda Cheung, President & CEO Asia Pacific at DUFRY, Sue Kyung Lee, CEO of SK II, Thabet Musleh, Vice President of Qatar Duty Free, and Marvin von Plato, CEO of Heinemann Asia Pacific addressed the complex issues surrounding preparation of growth as travel in Asia Pacific continues its upward trajectory, all participants and trade visitors were anticipating the return of travel demand and travel retail.

Insights on air travel in Asia Pacific in 2023 was provided by Stefano Baronci, ACI Asia Pacific Director General, and Mayur Patel, OAG Aviation Head of Asia. The final session of the day examined new emerging destinations, shopping preferences and the influence of social media in purchasing decisions. Delegates heard from Stephen Hillam, Pi Insight Managing Director, Rocky Chi, Emerging Communication’s Head of Planning, Marcus Hudson, Mars International Travel Retail Global Sales Director, and Claudio Ferreira, Japan Tobacco International Global Travel Retail General Manager.

Many issues and challenges were shared along with many prospects and opportunities moving forward for the travel retail industry, with scope for China to improve in their outbound travel in the year 2024. The 25th TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference ended on a high, with the event hosting a total of 3,029 visitors, approximately 90% of 2019, which was itself a record year.

The number of representatives from duty free and travel retail operators and landlords stood at 1,291 up by 4% on 2019. There was a full house at Monday’s conference, with 1,572 delegates, a record attendance, hearing from impressive speakers. With 200 exhibitors and a floor space of 8,469m2, the exhibition was also a quantifiable success. 61 of these companies were new exhibitors, including a mix of large international names and well-known regional brands.

Innovation continued to be a focus, with TFWA i.lab Asia making its debut in Singapore. The ideas hub had a dedicated area on Level 1 and gave delegates the opportunity to find out more about the new initiatives shaping the future of the industry. Once again proving to be a sought-after feature of TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference, the TFWA ONE2ONE meeting service facilitated a total of 678 on-site meetings throughout the week.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of the 25th TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference. Feedback from exhibitors has been that the quality of the audience has been exceptional, with a strong representation from Asia, Middle East and indeed the world. As usual, our team worked hard to ensure the delivery of a successful event for all attendees, and we are grateful for the support from all of our partners and sponsors. We are already looking forward to next year's event, and once again we’ll be planning to bring together the best and brightest in our industry. Thank you to everyone who made this event a success. See you in Cannes.Erik Juul-Mortensen, TFWA President

More information on the next TFWA 2024 is available here.

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