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TFWA World Exhibition visitor numbers slip 2%

Industry challenges hit visitor numbers at this year’s TFWA World Exhibition & Conference (TFWA WE), however the organisation has declared the 2% decline a “healthy figure under the circumstances”.

Visitor numbers slipped 2% at TFWA WE this year. Image: Palais des Festivals
Visitor numbers slipped 2% at TFWA WE this year. Image: Palais des Festivals

TFWA WE took place in Cannes, France, from 2-7 October. A total of 6,443 (6,558 in 2015) attended representing 2,948 companies (down 3% from 3,026).

The drop in numbers follows a challenging 2015 for the duty free and travel retail industry, with value sales contracting 2.3% overall in the calendar year, and wine and spirits falling 2.7%.

Despite the overall declines, the number of visitors from “key” categories – including travel retail operators, landlords and agents – increased 0.9% from 4,584 in 2015 to 4,625 this year. This figure represented 1,811 companies, a 1.2% increase on the 1,788 attendees in 2015.

The exhibition itself also grew in size, occupying 2.9% more floor space at 22,475.5sqm. In total, 492 brands were exhibited across 472 stands, including 10 official boats moored in the Harbour Village, and two marquees in the Beach Village.

Although foot traffic to the exhibition waned, attendance at the Opening Conference reached record levels. A total of 1,634 delegates – up 8.6% on 2015 numbers, gathered at the Palais des Festivals to hear from Juul-Mortensen, Dufry CEO Julián Díaz, tech expert Randi Zuckerberg, and International Rescue Committee CEO David Miliband.

The popularity of the conference programme continued throughout the week, with 153 early risers (+5.5% on 2015) joining the Russia Market Watch workshop on Tuesday morning, 174 delegates (+ 9.4%) attending the Inflight Workshop on Wednesday morning, and 89 (+2.3%) attending a Wednesday evening session outlining TFWA’s latest research findings.

“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 year,” commented Juul-Mortensen on the week’s activities.

While 2015 proved to be a challenging year, Generation Research figures released at the Opening Conference showed TR wine and spirits sales rebounded 4% in the first quarter of 2016.

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