Tracing the story of TRBusiness in celebration of its 25th anniversary year

By Charlotte Turner |

TrBusiness 25th anniversary.

Snapshots from our photo album.

Founded in 1997, TRBusiness today is unrecognisable yet intrinsically linked to its very first issue of The Duty Free Business (as it was known then).

Still an independent company, TRBusiness remains an indispensable source of authoritative news and information, which has evolved adeptly during numerous industry crises.

Arguably, the global pandemic and the war in Ukraine has seen the company navigate a steeper learning curve in just a few short years than it has in a quarter of a century.

What has remained constant throughout – and what this publication prides itself on – is our mission in ‘helping the industry grow’, through championing the achievements and transformations it has made over two-and-a-half decades.

This has often entailed lobbying on the industry’s behalf, in collaboration with excellent and extremely committed trade associations.

Moving with the times

One example includes this publication’s unwavering support of the tobacco industry, through its own transformation from the traditional cigars and cigarettes business – which underpinned duty free’s success for decades – to next-generation and ‘smokeless’ products.

TRBusiness archive photograph.

June 2001 Singapore tobacco roundtable on WHO threat (Clockwise from far left): Antares Cheng, MD King Power Group HK; Doug Newhouse, TRBusiness; Sarah Branquinho, Business Relationship Director, BAA; Paul Topping, MD Alpha TRME; Christian Strang, Director APAC Nuance Group; Sunil Tuli, MD, Weitnauer Asia, John Sutcliffe, MD ARIME and President MEDFA (as it was known then); and David Bernstein, IAADFS.

TRBusiness has helped to educate consumers on VAT policies on the BBC and ignited industry push-back on the more recent decision by the UK Government to axe tax free sales in the UK.

As many will remember, with the support of trade associations, TRBusiness launched a petition that attracted more than 10,000 signatures and triggered a response from the government on the matter.

TRBusiness magazine through the years.

TRBusiness magazine through the years.

Equally, TRBusiness has challenged the industry to make necessary improvements through its own game-changing sustainability and consumer insights platforms as well as its unrivalled events.

In particular, TRBusiness has encouraged the industry to strive for a greener future with TR Sustainability Week and quite rightly put the consumer at the heart of conversations with the launch of the TR Consumer Forum in partnership with leading travel retail research company, m1nd-set.

Thinking greener

All of this is made possible by the TRBusiness team, which continues to grow year-on-year as our portfolio diversifies.

In the words of Nigel Hardy, Co-Owner and Joint Managing Director, “we have always focused on making the publication not just a commercial success, but a recognised independent news and information source for the industry. I would like to think that we have achieved both of these aims.”

Referring once again to the evolution of the company, Hardy highlights the benefits of the publication now being predominantly digital.

TrBusiness October 2022 e-zine.

A look inside the October 2022 e-zine.

“We are always trying to think greener and producing a digital publication allows us to lead by example. It also provides greater value for our readers, with the inclusion of embedded operator and supplier video interviews; instant access anywhere and on-demand; added value for advertisers with yet more options to embed video campaigns; plus the wider distribution.”

A forward-thinking approach 

Hardy points out that TRBusiness is prolific in video publishing, pushing the boundaries of what was possible during the pandemic by launching our ‘Adapt and Survive’ remote interview series.

TRBusiness celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2022.“We are also the first publication in the marketplace to fully recognise the true importance of the travelling consumer within the travel retail/duty free sales channel,” he goes on to say.

“In turn, this has led to the introduction of the coveted consumer-voted Global Travel Retail Awards, Asia Pacific Travel Retail Awards and the TR Consumer Forum which is produced in partnership with m1nd-set.”

Janice Hook, fellow owner and Joint Managing Director said: “The quality of TRBusiness magazine (or The Duty Free Business as it was previously known) was already of a very high standard, however, there is always room for improvement.

“With this in mind it was essential for us to be forward-thinking and to always stay one step ahead of our competitors. Fortunately, with the help of our talented and professional team, this has always been the case.

The TRBusiness team at the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes 2022.

The TRBusiness team at the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes 2022.

“It continues to be a pleasure to be a part of something that is treasured by the travel retail sector. Receiving compliments from readers and clients about our portfolio is still as exciting to me now as it was all those years ago,” she added.

“I also feel strongly about looking after our employees. I have always believed in treating our staff the way I would like to be treated.

“You need to appreciate your staff and we pride ourselves on doing so. We are all part of a ‘family’.”

TRBusiness has received incredible messages of support from well-known industry figures to mark the 25th anniversary. You can read a selection of them here, and view the full feature in our October 2022 issue.

If you would like to share your own message to mark the 25th anniversary of TRBusiness, please email us at [email protected]

Photos from the archives

See below for a selection of archive images showing the TRBusiness team through the years…

TRBusiness archive photograph.

Nigel Hardy pictured in Cannes, 1997.


TRBusiness archive photograph.

1997 TRBusiness Rocks Cannes – then known as the Blues Night. Doug Newhouse, David Spillane and Billy Norman


TRBusiness archive shot.

Left: Ric Blow, Design, Production and Multimedia, and Nigel Hardy at TRBusiness Rocks, in 2014. Right: Right: Ben Webb, International Sales & Marketing Director, and Janice Hook, Owner / Joint Managing Director, dressed to the nines for an industry event in 2012.


TRBusiness archive shot.

Charlotte Turner and Managing Editor Luke Barras-Hill at Newbury Racecourse for the Dubai Duty Free Newbury Spring Trials in Spring 2016.

TRBusiness team, 2018.

The TRBusiness team in Cannes, 2018.

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