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AirAsia X exec leads TFWA AP speaker line-up

Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, chairman of AirAsia X, and Porter Erisman, former Alibaba vice president, will top the speaker agenda at this year’s TFWA Asia Pacific Conference, the trade organisation has announced.

Erik Juul Mortensen, TFWA president, speaking at last year’s TFWA Asia Pacific Conference

Under the theme ‘Re-igniting our industry’, the conference will take place on Level 5 of the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore on Monday 8 May.

TFWA president Erik Juul-Mortensen and Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association president Jaya Singh will open the event, giving a state of the industry address.

Then Anil Gupta, a World Economic Forum member, commentator and author of The Quest for Global Dominance, Getting China and India Right and The Silk Road Rediscovered, will examine the rise of Asia at a time of change in the first plenary session. He will then be joined by Aziz, who is also the former Malaysian minister of international trade and industry, who will explore the future of regional economic integration.

In the second plenary session, Erisman will share the Alibaba success story, before Andrea Belardini, Dufry’s Asia, Middle East and Africa CEO, who will address recent duty free developments across the region.

A networking lunch will then take place, which will be followed by three workshops which will run concurrently: Workshop A on Rediscovering Japan; Workshop B on Re-engage: Driving Customer Loyalty; and Workshop C, Reassessing our Industry Challenges Today and Tomorrow.

Workshop A will feature Isao Takashiro, chairman and CEO of JATCO; Hideki Hayashida, senior vice president of NAA; Nobuo Nabika, president of skincare brand The Ginza; and Tadashi Shimura, president of the Japan Association of Travel Agents; who will collectively discuss the travel retail and duty free business in the country today.

Re-engage: Driving Customer Loyalty will see CC Lee, COO at China Duty Free Group; Nicola Wells, director global marketing and strategy at Aer Rianta International; and Kian Gould, founder and CEO of AOE; address how repeat customer spend can be increased.

Workshop C, on the travel retail challenges of today and tomorrow, will look at regulatory issues the industry needs to address, and the latest data on traffic trends and consumer behaviour. Speakers will include Sarah Branquinho, external affairs director, Dufry, and president of ETRC; Dr Jennifer Cords, head of corporate affairs and compliance global travel retail for Imperial Brands and an APTRA board member; Lewis Allen, director of environments for Portland Design; Terna Jibo, head of strategic insights for Portland Design; and Olivier Jager, co-founder & CEO of ForwardKeys.

“This exciting region continues to lead the recovery in the duty free and travel retail sector, accounting for the top three countries in terms of sales during 2016 and an impressive six out of the top ten,” said Erik Juul-Mortensen, president of TFWA.

“It’s looking to be another excellent exhibition and conference, with a record number of companies and exhibiting space.”

The TFWA Asia Pacific Conference takes place the day before the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition, which will run at the Marina Bay Sands Expo Centre from 8-11 May 2017. The TFWA says it is planning for visitor and exhibitor numbers expected to be “equally as successful” as last year, when there were 12% visitor number gains.

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