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APTRA pushes for governments to help travel retail

The Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association (APTRA) has urged 45 governments across Asia Pacific to prioritise support packages for businesses in the duty free sector that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Grant Fleming, president of the Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association

APTRA has written to government policy-makers responsible for determining financial aid available for companies in the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic. The association has also called on members to reach out to local governments in their own countries.

Grant Fleming, president of APTRA, said: “APTRA is sending a clear and simple message that financial support for the entire duty free and travel retail industry is required.

“All governments and agencies in charge need to understand the importance of our industry for their economies and should correctly apportion and prioritise financial efforts quickly. APTRA’s mission is to strengthen, nurture and protect our industry.

“There has been no greater need for a call to action than now. As an association we believe we can voice the needs of industry via a unique stage for the entire industry and not merely seen as a group of businesses. This approach can charge the appeal.”

The appeal is supported by a report recently commissioned by APTRA and the Duty Free World Council (DFWC), which outlined the travel retail industry’s impact on the aviation, maritime and tourism sectors.

The report cited that in Asia Pacific in 2017, the industry provided more than 300,000 jobs and made a contribution of almost US$15bn to GDP.

Fleming added: “APTRA is at its strongest member number since its inception 15 years ago, and we know that the support of our members across the region can add to the volume to broadcast the awareness to governments at this critical time when there is such a need for help.

“Our objective is simple: we are seeking commitment from governments to apply financial support to the duty free and travel retail industry by including us within the designated community of essential services deemed vital in supporting the aviation, maritime and tourism industries that are so critical to the region.

“Let’s be in no doubt of the imperatives in this drive for action. Our industry dynamics are vastly different to domestic market retail because we are dependent on the return in passenger traffic.

“This campaign is fundamentally about securing financial support for industry survival and we are encouraging our association members in different countries to get behind it and use their existing connections to deliver the message to their governments.”

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