TFWA visitor numbers soar 7% in record attendanceBy Melita Kiely
The TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes has reported record attendance for the 2019 show, with visitor numbers up 7% compared with last year.
A total of 7,531 delegates attended this year’s event, which took place from 29 September to 4 October in the French Riviera town. In 2018, visitor numbers surpassed the 7,000 mark for the first time.
The opening conference, which took place on Monday 30 September, also recorded the highest number of visitors to date, with more than 2,000 attendees in the auditorium.
The conference began with an opening speech from new TFWA president Alain Maingreaud, before former UK prime minister Tony Blair took to the stage as keynote speaker to share stories and insights from his 10 years in office.
The exhibition halls welcomed 504 exhibitors across a bigger floor space of 23,44m sq m – up from 22,759 sq m in 2018.
TFWA said the inaugural Innovation Lab “proved to be a popular addition to the exhibition”, which offered insight into how the travel retail industry can prosper while acknowledging the impact it has on the environment. This included ideas to recycle retail fixtures and reduce plastic packaging.
The Opening Cocktail party was enjoyed by more than 2,000 visitors, who gathered at Port Canto for the event’s “biggest ever party”.
More than 800 visitors also attended Le Premium Evening on the final night of the show, where they were treated to a cabaret covering jazz classics and hits from Abba and Queen.
Maingreaud confirmed during his opening speech that the TFWA has come to an agreement with Palais des Festivals to host the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes for at least the next three years.
He also highlighted key challenges facing the channel, and stressed the global travel retail industry must swiftly address the “lack of reliable data” and “reluctance” to share information, or risk the sustainability of the channel.