THIS YEAR’S TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference, to be held in Singapore this month from May 8-12 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre, comes at an unsettling time for the Asian duty free liquor business. While continued passenger growth, airport infrastructure investment and rising retail standards all suggest the region’s long-term future is good, the Chinese anti-corruption programme and the wider slowdown in the country’s economy are causes for immediate concern.
This more sombre industry mood is reflected in the theme of this year’s event: Navigating Through Change. In a change from the format of previous years, the conference will start with two plenary sessions in the morning, followed by three simultaneous themed industry workshops in the afternoon.
The first plenary session will commence with TFWA president Erik Juul Mortensen’s customary look at the regional duty free business in statistical terms and will address its main challenges and opportunities at a time of much geopolitical, economic and generational change.
Former Singaporean ambassador to the US and current dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Kishore Mahbubani is one of the keynote speakers in the first plenary session. He will look at the current political and economic challenges facing Asia Pacific.
The second speaker, futurist Mike Walsh, investigates how the duty free industry can adapt and survive in an era of constant change.
The second plenary session will feature Philippe Schaus, CEO of Asia’s largest duty free retailer, DFS Group, talking about his company’s plans for the future, while Jack MacGowan, CEO of Irish travel retail ARI, and Kevin Chiang, president of Taiwan’s leading travel retailer Ever Rich Corporation will both outline their regional ambitions.
Finally, after a networking lunch, the three afternoon workshops will focus on the millennial travellers, the growing downtown duty free sector in Asia, and the various legislative challenges facing the regional travel retail business.
The show’s packed social calendar remains largely the same as in previous years: a number of sporting events will be held on Sunday May 8, as will the show’s Welcome Cocktail at the famous Raffles Hotel. A concluding Singapore Swing party will be held on Sentosa Island’s Mambo Beach on Wednesday May 11.
More than 2,600 visitors attended the show last year and more than 60 wine, beer and spirit exhibitors have stands at this year’s exhibition.
Among the new or returning exhibitors this year are Nemiroff vodka, Cognac Prunier, Chopin vodka, Prince Hubert de Polignac cognac, Vana Tallinn liqueur, French wine merchant Peuch et Besse and Chinese spirits producer Wuliangye Group.
Show organiser TFWA has developed a number of digital services for visitors to the show, including a dedicated mobile phone app, touch-screen kiosks at the Marina Bay Sands to aid navigation, and an online product showcase detailing product launches.
TFWA is also offering a personalised appointment service for exhibiting brand owners and retailers to meet senior executives from Asian airports, airlines, cruise lines and ferry operators.
For more detail on these services and all aspects of the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference head to tfwa.com.