TFWA talks ahead of ‘full-scale’ Singapore return

By Luke Barras-hill |

Registration opens for TFWA Asia Pacific 2023

The TFWA Asia Pacific showpiece makes its long-awaited return on 7-11 May.

Tax Free World Association (TFWA) President Erik Juul-Mortensen is pleased with the strength in depth of retailers and exhibitors signed up so far for the Asia Pacific summit in Singapore, as he urged those undecided to commit to the event.

TFWA announced yesterday a further boost to the contingent of leading travel retail operators that have already confirmed their attendance at this year’s TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference (7-11 May).

They will flank leading brand exhibitors including Kering Eyewear, LVMH Beauty, La Prairie, Moët Hennessy, Mars, Chanel, Ermenegildo Zegna, Diageo, L’Oreal, Puig and Interparfums.

Re-forging alliances in Singapore

Speaking to TRBusiness in a video interview, the TFWA President said: “The list of retailers that have confirmed their participation is absolutely phenomenal. It’s wonderful to see the breadth and depth that have committed to come to Singapore; they do that because they think they can do business there and that’s important.

“We are in talks with quite a few potential exhibitors and if you look at the exhibitors that have already signed, it’s a very impressive list of amazing brands – big and small – from all over the world.

“We haven’t really had the opportunity to welcome large numbers of travellers from Asia Pacific for some time now and I really believe there is a friendship that needs to be rekindled.

TFWA President Erik Juul-Mortensen spoke recently to TRBusiness Editorial Director Luke Barras-Hill.

“And we’re absolutely excited to make a full-scale return this year as passenger traffic in the region has accelerated and China has reopened. Not everything is rosy yet, but there are some very positive signs.”

While TFWA reconnected industry stakeholders at the two-day in-person Asia Pacific Live conference last year, 2023 marks the first time that industry stakeholders will gather, in earnest, for the hugely popular regional exhibition & conference since 2019 [the event was cancelled in the wake of the Covid crisis in 2020 and a virtual Hainan ‘special edition’ was hosted in 2021 – Ed].

“The interest in the exhibition has been very positive,” continued Juul-Mortensen. “On requests for stand space received, in December we were at the same level as 2019 – which was a record year. We are still talking to a number of potential exhibitors.

“The TFWA Asia Pacific Conference on Monday 8 May will feature a number of high-level speakers from within the industry and beyond, including Singapore’s former Prime Minister George Yeo which I believe will be a very positive and interesting speaker. The social programme in Singapore will prioritise informal networking, however, with every opportunity and possibility for serious sit-down business meetings.”

During a wide-ranging conversation on camera, TFWA’s President shared his thoughts on the industry’s rebound in 2022, a year that yielded an upsurge in travel demand as travel restrictions ended in many countries against a backdrop of acute global macroeconomic headwinds, geopolitical instability and rising prices.

Last year’s TFWA Asia Pacific Live did not include an exhibition component within the programme.

He touched on the anticipated debut of TFWA i.lab in Singapore, having evolved into a hybrid format with a physical appearance at the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes and online via TFWA’s 365 platform in 2022, and what delegates can expect.

With consumers’ travel and spending habits changing perpetually, Juul-Mortensen – re-elected as President on a one-year term in 2022 after returning to the post in 2021 – also discusses the association’s priorities in 2023, and how as an organisation it stays relevant to its members and the industry at large.

In a final message to those undecided about their attendance, the TFWA President added: “If you haven’t come down from the fence, do it now – there’s still time.”

For the full video interview with Erik Juul-Mortensen, watch out for the TRBusiness March/April edition, which is available as an e-zine and in print at the IAADFS Duty Free Summit of the Americas (16-19 April).

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