TFWA calls off physical Asia Pacific Exhibition as review gets underway

By Luke Barras-hill |

In significant news for the industry, Tax Free World Association (TFWA) is changing the format of this year’s TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference.

TFWA says it is ‘reviewing an alternative option’ for the event, which was due to take place on 9-12 May.

Business partners, colleagues and friends were looking forward to an in-person return to the event.

In a statement, TFWA said the decision was taken as a result of ‘growing concerns’ related to the health situation in Singapore and across Asia Pacific.

As a result, and with stricter health and safety measures having being reinstated in many of the region’s countries in the wake of Omicron, the association said ‘it became clear that a live exhibition organised in this situation would not be able to provide the desired level of benefit and support to the industry’.

TRBusiness had an exclusive interview with TFWA President, Erik Juul-Mortensen last month, prior to the TFWA making its decision to cancel the live Singapore exhibition.

TFWA COMMITS TO A SINGAPORE LIVE EXHIBITION IN 2023

“It is with great regret that the TFWA Board and Management Committee have decided that the ongoing Covid-related travel restrictions in many key Asian markets prevent us from staging the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition in Singapore as we had all hoped and worked for,” said TFWA President, Erik Juul-Mortensen.

“We have done our utmost to maintain the event and were encouraged by the clear demand for it to take place, but we are unable to guarantee that the travel and health situation will improve sufficiently to enable and convince a broad cross-section of the (regional) industry to fully participate.

“We know how disappointed our exhibitors and visitors will be, as well as our business partners in Singapore who have worked so hard to create a safe and welcoming environment for events such as ours. I would especially like to pay tribute to the Singapore Tourism Board and other government authorities who are doing so much to open the country to tourism and business travel. We are sure that those efforts will be rewarded in future and remain committed to returning to Singapore with a live exhibition in 2023.”

“All of us at TFWA will now redouble our efforts to bring our industry together in Cannes once more, in the Palais des Festivals, for a truly global TFWA World Exhibition & Conference which will bring our industry together and lay the foundations for a return to growth," said the TFWA President.

“All of us at TFWA will now redouble our efforts to bring our industry together in Cannes once more, in the Palais des Festivals, for a truly global TFWA World Exhibition & Conference,” said the TFWA President.

UPDATE TO FOLLOW NEXT WEEK
Juul-Mortensen said he would like to thank all  TFWA members and exhibitors, and duty free and travel retailers, who have committed to this year’s event.

“We thank you for your loyalty and ask for your understanding for this difficult decision,” he continued. ” Our thanks go to the TFWA team for all they have done to try to stage this event in very challenging circumstances. I have absolutely no doubt that the Asia-Pacific market will recover and TFWA is determined to play its part in contributing to its future growth. Our Singapore event has helped build a strong platform for duty free & travel retail in the Asia Pacific region and will do so again.”

Looking ahead, TFWA is conscious that the support of its members and of the duty free and travel retailers is essential if it is to maintain ‘the programme of high-quality events that has come to define the travel retail calendar and is a lynchpin of our industry’s growth’, said the association.

“TFWA exists to provide a platform for brands to do business in the global duty free and travel retail market, and for retailers to offer a compelling range of products to travellers,” added the TFWA President.

“We cannot provide that platform without brand and retailer support. In the coming days we will communicate directly with our members with a full update on the situation and the way forward for the Association.

“All of us at TFWA will now redouble our efforts to bring our industry together in Cannes once more, in the Palais des Festivals, for a truly global TFWA World Exhibition & Conference which will bring our industry together and lay the foundations for a return to growth.”

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