ETRC Business Forum tackles looming industry challenges

By Benedict Evans |

The ETRC Supervisory Board in attendance at the ETRC Business Forum

The ETRC Supervisory Board in attendance at the ETRC Business Forum.

The European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC) organised its annual Business Forum on 1 February in Amsterdam, attracting 135 delegates from over 80 different organisations active in the European travel retail sector.

In an uncertain geopolitical context, and a decisive election year in the UK and US, the theme for this year’s forum, Expect the unexpected, underlined the turbulence present throughout the industry.

Keynote speaker Fabian Zuleeg, Chief Economist & Chief Executive at the European Policy Center, reflected on Europe’s political and economical position in the world.

Sustainability and regulatory topics – and how travel retailers are equipped to address them – were the focus of a roundtable composed of airports and ETRC policy experts, namely: Anna Vasila, Head of Sustainability and Industry Affairs, Athens Airport: Sergio Gallorini, Commercial Consumer Director, Naples Airport: Julie Lassaigne, Secretary General; and Ricardo Oliveira, Senior Counsel at ETRC.

ETRC Business Forum

Pictured: Piret Mürk-Dubout (SVP and Member of the Management Board of Tallink Grupp & Vice President Maritime Affairs, ETRC).

Maritime retail also formed an important area of focus, with Piret Mürk-Dubout, SVP and Member of the Management Board of Tallink Grupp, offering insights into the specificities of ferry retailing.

Stephen Hillam, Managing Director at Pi Insight, also presented delegates with the results of the latest ETRC Business Performance Index, the full results of which will be released in the next couple of months.

The capstone to the ETRC Business Forum was a session with retailers covering findings from the ETRC Business Performance Index.

The report was complemented by category insights from an impressive lineup of retailer representatives: Britta Hoffmann, Director Purchasing Perfume and Cosmetics at Gebr. Heinemann; Victoire Gueugnier, Global Director for beverages (Spirits, Wine and Champagne) at Lagardère Travel Retail; Richard Maynes, Global Head of Fashion and Accessories for Aer Rianta International; and Philippe Moryl, Global Category Head Confectionery, Food, Souvenirs and Toys at Avolta.

The day concluded with a presentation by Dame Kelly Holmes, the first female Team GB athlete to win two gold medals at the same games at the 2004 Athens Olympics; Holmes’ message was one of resilience and transformative lessons.

Dame Kelly Holmes

Renowned former pro-athlete Dame Kelly Holmes delivers her closing presentation on resilience.

Nigel Keal, President of ETRC, commented: “We are so pleased that year on year, the ETRC Business Forum continues to attract a large crowd and provides a platform for members to learn, exchange on challenges and best practices, and be inspired.

We look forward to continue working with our members to identify and promote conditions for a sustainable future for Duty Free and Travel Retail in Europe.”

READ MORE: Survey 2024: Lotte Duty Free talks expansion and capturing FIT spend

READ MORE: QDF reports +32% growth; ‘laser-focused’ on retail

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