Exclusive Video Interview: Dufry’s Julián Diaz (Part 1)

By Luke Barras-hill |

Diaz1The anticipated introduction of duty free arrivals shopping in the Eurasian Economic Union (Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazahkstan, Kyrgyzstan) is ‘very positive news’ for Dufry Group and the industry, CEO Julián Díaz has told TRBusiness in an exclusive interview.

However, he says its future success will hinge on the implementation of final legislation that will help operators drive sales in countries ‘in the proper way’.

(A new Customs Code for the Eurasian Economic Union, anticipated back in October 2016, will enter into force on 1 January 2018 that in theory will permit the opening of duty free arrivals shops.)

“We have several examples worldwide where arrivals shops are completely different depending on the tax and legal regimes. We have arrivals shops in Switzerland, Mexico, Brazil… the three specific systems are different. If you ask what I prefer, obviously I would like to drive sales through a system similar to the one in Brazil.

“In Russia, I think this could be a significantly positive impact on travel retail in the country, but it depends on the legislation.”

In a candid interview, Díaz says the revival of the Russian traveller poses an ‘interesting question’ to Dufry’s operations in the context of the devaluation of the rouble and the country’s wider socio-economic development plans.

“I am optimistic about Russia; Russians are travelling again and the number of passengers have increased significantly in all regions where they are important, but the spend per passenger is still impacted.

“The strong devaluation of the rouble has had an effect. I hope spend per passenger will recover, but it won’t be in the short term.”

Turning to the wider business, he reiterated that organic growth of 8.9% reached the second quarter of this year has been one of the strongest on record.

Commenting on the airport business, he states that operators, retailers and suppliers all have a role to play in addressing future ways for the industry to evolve in a climate of rising concession fees.

“The market is changing; if we do not change with it, it will change us,” he said frankly. “It is better to drive change, than be driven.”

Stay close to TRBusiness for Part 2 of the interview, available soon…

 

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