‘Adapt and Survive’: Sarah Branquinho, DFWC

By Luke Barras-hill |

ADAPT-AND-SURVIVE-Sarah-Branquinho-460x306DF&TR trade associations are sharpening their lobbying messages in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic as the Duty Free World Council (DFWC) forges a global position to ensure the industry is best equipped to bounce back as quickly as possible.

In the latest instalment of ‘Adapt & Survive’ [click below video], DFWC President Sarah Branquinho tells TRBusiness that all the regional associations, including the ETRC and APTRA, are working to a clearly aligned agenda.

ASUTIL has engaged with ACI in South America and has had a meeting to coordinate approaches to national government; the FDFA in Canada is lobbying government for rent relief; and the IAADFS is helping its members across the Americas gain access to emergency funding. IAADFS and TFWA are also busy resolving the fallout after event cancellations in Florida and Singapore, respectively.

“At a global level, apart from supporting the different regions, the DFWC is working with ACI World and UNWTO and using the same arguments to make sure that we get included in part of anything that might benefit the aviation, maritime and tourism sectors,” explained Branquinho.


The message being conveyed to governments and regulators is aimed at ensuring DF&TR is considered as an ‘integral’ part of the aforementioned sectors, she continued. This will ensure the industry can revive its income streams swiftly once travel and border restrictions are relaxed.

Asked what the DFWC will be looking for from governments in the next six weeks, Branquinho responded: “We’d like to see some positive feedback. Just to give one example, governments seem to be focusing almost exclusively on the woes of the airlines and not thinking of the airports.

“[DF&TR] of course is mainly part of the airports’ ecosystem and the airports have huge fixed costs – you could argue larger than the airlines – and yet they are not getting the same airtime or focus from governments despite all the fantastic work that ACI is doing.”

Elsewhere, Branquinho confirms that a new campaign launched in January addressing recurring allegations of illicit trade contained in the World Health Organization’s Illicit Trade Protocol had received ‘tremendous buy-in’ from retailers across the world, before the pandemic hit.

Workshops planned for industry trade events have now shifted to virtual formats and the DFWC is working towards an expanded series of online webinars and briefings in April and May ahead of what is still understood to be a full roster of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control meetings slated to take place in November.

“While we continue to work on the illicit trade issue, we know now that later this year the WHO will also consider the way new generation products are regulated, in the domestic and duty free environment and I think that is one we need to keep an eye on,” added Branquinho.

For more information and to get involved in Adapt & Survive, contact: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected].

Click below links to view other videos in the series:

Matthew Greenbaum, Vice President, International Shoppes

Julie Lassaigne, Secretary General, ETRC

Sam Gerber, Managing Partner Skross and Vice President Corporate, TFWA

John Woodhouse, Managing Partner, Schäfer Airport Retail

Peter Mohn, CEO and Co-founder, m1nd-set


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