The TR Consumer Forum core programme kicked off this morning with a State of the Industry update from m1nd-set Founder and CEO Dr. Peter Mohn, who stressed the huge opportunity travel retail has to delight new travellers.
Mohn opened with the compelling statistic that only 11% of the global population has ever flown in an aircraft.
Millions of people are set to travel for the first time in the next few years, he said. “We need to be fully prepared to exceed their expectations when they come to travel.”
He then turned his attention to Gen Z, which will become a significant target group for the industry in the coming years.
“They want new things. They don’t want the usual thing,” Mohn said of the demographic. “It’s a huge opportunity for us to inspire them, to be different, to entertain them.”
Gen Z will be a key focus later in the conference agenda.
China: Things will not be as they were
Mohn gave an overview of Chinese passengers in travel retail, which had been a critical passenger group for GTR prior to the pandemic.
“The Chinese government is doing everything it can to keep the money inside China,” Mohn said, referring to domestic duty free shopping developments, including the advent of Hainan.
While the Chinese traveller will come back and will always be important, “things will not be how they used to be,” he explained.
“If you’re after the Chinese consumer, make sure you’re present in Hainan.”
More broadly across the region, Mohn said Asia Pacific air travel will take time to recover as it is still lagging behind.
The top ten international air traffic markets have changed significantly, will Asia Pacific destinations dropping out of the rankings.
India is a notable exception which, as well as remaining in the top ten, is also the market recovering at the fastest pace.
Mohn also noted that globally the share of premium passengers across air travel is now higher than it was pre-2019.
Cruise industry ‘very smart’
Cruise sector passenger numbers are set to surpass 2019 levels by the end of 2023, Mohn said.
“The cruise industry was very smart. They didn’t stop building ships during the pandemic,” he explained. “It’s an industry that’s prepared for the returning passenger.”
Interestingly, older consumers want to go on longer cruises, and all cruise passengers tend to spend more on travel retail than in any other channel, he added.
TR Consumer Forum opened yesterday with the Green Shoots Exchange, and continues until Friday 23 June.