Tourvest reinvents its inflight model

By Doug Newhouse |

Tourvest Duty Free has renamed itself Tourvest In-flight Retail Services; restructured its staffing; and implemented a brand new e-commerce strategy.


The company says that the change of name reflects the determination of the Tourvest Travel Retail division subsidiary to reinvent itself and become a dominant player in the global inflight retail sector.


Currently, its duty free concessions include British Airways, South African Airways, Kenya Airways, SA Express, Arik Airways, Precision Air and TAAG, although British Airways and Kenya Airways are in tender processes.


[Tourvest In-flight Retail Services presently generates an annual turnover in excess of $160m, employing over 180 people globally and operating corporate offices in both South Africa and the UK, with additional warehouses in Kenya, Nigeria and Angola-Ed].


Tourvest In-flight Retail Services CEO, Clive Jones.



The aforementioned name change also follows what CEO Clive Jones describes as ‘one of a series of initiatives’ that has been created following a comprehensive strategic review aimed at re-establishing the company as the industry leader.


“Other measures include strengthening the management team, expanding our product offering and taking full advantage of technological advancements to keep ahead of the pack,” he said.


Jones said that part of this rationale is that the in-flight retail sector has lagged behind its ground shop competitor’s terms of innovation in the past and he believes it is time to change all of that.


“We see the implementation of our e-commerce strategy as the catalyst that will help us lead the industry into passenger personalisation and direct-to- passenger engagements through a number of initiatives aimed at a wide cross section of passenger contact points,” said Jones.


The company says that this will include a menu-based solution of services, ranging from a full concession model, through to individual elements of its overall value proposition. This will also embrace a buy-on-board F&B solution and the company says it is already ‘in advanced discussions’ with a European carrier along these lines.


South African Airways has been a long-standing account with Tourvest.



Tourvest says that its leadership team has also been strengthened, with a mixture of internal shuffling of responsibilities, new appointments from within the Tourvest group itself and external recruitment.


Jones explained: “This will help us augment our institutional knowledge and expertise while also injecting new perspectives and know-how, which we see as crucial to cement our existing relationships and to attract additional concessions in our existing regions of operations, as well as new ones, including Asia and America.”


As part of this new approach, Jones took his team to last week’s TFWA show in Singapore where they engaged in a full agenda of meetings with key suppliers and airlines.


He added: “We have ambitious plans and the means to achieve them. Our systems and processes are among the best in the world and our team is now an exceptionally strong one.


“We are in brilliant shape and ready to take the business into its next phase of growth, also sending clear signals to the market that we are the ideal partner to unlock considerable value and innovation in their in-flight retail business.”


Kenya Airways is also out to tender at present. (Photo credit: André Wadman).



The company’s most recent internal appointments include the following changes:


• Margaret Delaney – General Manager: Client Relationships (Europe). This position has been escalated into an executive level position. Delaney has over 25 years’ experience within the industry, including working with the entire supply chain from warehousing through to inflight sales.


• Joe Harvey – Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. Harvey previously headed up the global crew engagement portfolio and is now leading the global business development strategy, utilising more than 10 years experience within the inflight retail industry.


• Sara Ebrahim – General Manager: Human Resources. Ebrahim has moved within the ranks of the business including finance as well as leading the African Key Account Management teams, before taking on this new executive responsibility. Management describes this as ‘a critical role’ as Tourvest looks to attract, recruit and retain experts in each of its fields to take the business forward.


• Wynand Kruger – General Manager technology and innovation. Kruger is now responsible for heading up all of Tourvest’s new innovation initiatives and the company claims to have a number of exciting developments that have reached ‘far-advanced stages’.


• Marlize van der Schyff – Chief Financial Officer. She was previously head of the Tourvest group’s finance team for more than five years as Group Financial Manager.


• Gerhard Esterhuyse – Chief Commercial Officer. Having led the e-commerce and client engagement teams within Tourvest’s Travel Services division, Esterhuyse will head up present and future commercial and expansion efforts.


• Tourvest In-flight Retail Services has also announced an external appointment in Yvonne Airey as Chief Merchandise Officer. Airey is described as having more than 25 years’ experience within retail, including ground-based and inflight retail – amongst other businesses where she has led buying and planning functions.


The company adds that Sarel Marais, continues to lead the operations of Tourvest In-flight Retail Services as the COO, having been part of the team for nearly 12 years.


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