Top spirits at TFWA World Exhibition 2017

26th September, 2017 by Amy Hopkins

In the year that the travel retail industry celebrates its 70th anniversary, the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes will seek to demonstrate how new technologies can help to reinvent the sector.

Against a global backdrop of escalating political, social and economic turmoil, it has never been more important for stakeholders in the travel retail industry to engage, discuss and share with each other – giving events such as the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) World Exhibition & Conference an ‘unmissable’ status.

One might expect the mood at this year’s event, taking place on 1­6 October at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, to be a little brighter than last year since recent data released by the IWSR shows that international TR spirits sales increased by 3.2% in 2016 to reach 22.5 million cases. In 2015, total spirits sales in the global travel retail channel slid 3.3% in volume and 4.2% in value.

However, the rebound presents a complicated picture of growth, and serious challenges remain for the sector. “The economic and political environment in which we operate is no more certain now than it was this time last year,” says Erik Juul-­Mortensen, president of the TFWA.

“Uncertainty in Korea, natural disasters and no reduction in the number of terrorist incidents have all played a role in increasing anxiety and limiting people’s ability and willingness to travel. This, in turn, has continued to provide challenges for our business.

“But at the same time, we have many reasons to be optimistic and as travel as a leisure pursuit or a business necessity continues to grow, we face a future that is full of possibilities.”

It is with this cautiously optimistic attitude that TR stakeholders will travel to Cannes for the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference, where a record 515 companies will exhibit – an increase of 4.7% on last year. Thousands of brands will be showcased on 491 stands to the world’s largest TR and duty free audience. The 2017 edition also marks the 70th anniversary of the travel retail industry, which was founded at Shannon Airport in Ireland.

“We’ve marked this milestone with a great advertising and social media campaign that has generated quite a buzz around the event,” says Juul­-Mortensen.

Furthermore, this year’s show stands out with its highly anticipated Digital Village, which will focus on “building essential links between the technology sector and the duty free and travel retail industry”. Thirty exhibitors from the digital retail sector will occupy a space at Gare Maritime from 4 October to 6 October to demonstrate how new technologies can be used in TR.

A digital theme also runs through TFWA’s broader workshop­and­ conference programme. The workshops will kick off on Tuesday 3 October with a session called Digital Focus, which will explore the latest developments in digital and online marketing to travellers, as well as the solutions being launched by airports, retailers and brands.

On Wednesday 4 October, an Inflight Focus workshop will explore the issues and challenges facing the airline retail market. The TFWA Research Workshop will take place on the same day to present key findings of the association’s most recent research studies.

Former United Nations secretary general Ban Ki­Moon will lead the show’s stellar speaker line­up, which also includes former Ireland president Mary Robinson and Wired UK editor­at­large David Rowan. Juul­Mortensen will open the conference with his annual state­of­the­ industry address.

Ban Ki­-Moon will discuss the need for leadership in a new global landscape and examine obstacles to lasting peace and prosperity. Robinson, a former UN high commissioner for human rights, will speak from her perspective as an advocate for peace at home and abroad. Rowan, an expert on the influence of tech on business and everyday life, will then look at the DF and TR industry from the viewpoint of a technology start­up. The conference will again be moderated by journalist Stephen Sackur, who presents BBC World current affairs programme Hard Talk.

To offset what promises to be a packed programme of networking, meetings and educational workshops, TFWA WE is once again offering a plethora of social and leisure activities. A particular highlight will be The Spirits Business’s very own Beach Party, where medallists from The Vodka Masters and The Travel Retail Masters will be recognised for their achievements. Guests will also be able to meet industry leaders while enjoying cocktails and canapés.

“TFWA World Exhibition & Conference is the biggest event in the duty free and travel retail calendar, showcasing innovations from some of the most exciting newcomers as well as the established market leading brands across the spirits sector,” Juul­-Mortensen says.

“The event provides ideal opportunities for the exhibiting brand companies to meet with their customers from the duty free and travel retail industry, just as the main conference and workshop programmes give exhibitors and visitors the chance to hear about the latest thinking from the wider duty free and travel retail industry. And of course, the week offers unrivalled opportunities for networking at some truly spectacular events.”

Click through the following pages for a taster of which leading spirits brands will be exhibiting at the show.

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