Two-day live event to land at Marina Bay Sands

By Luke Barras-hill and Charlotte Turner |

The Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre will play host to a live, two-day education and networking event replacing the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference.

Tax Free World Association (TFWA) has revealed it has decided to stage an in-person networking event at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre in Singapore on 10-11 May.

The programme, which is currently being worked on, replaces the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference that as reported was called off earlier this month due to the health situation continuing to affect Singapore and the wider region.

Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association (APTRA) will play an active part in the programme.

In comments shared with the media in an online press conference this morning (14 March), TFWA President Erik Juul-Mortensen pledged a ‘robust learning programme’, including themed workshops, accompanied by ample networking opportunities.

‘NOT AN EXHIBITION’

While the event will house specific sections for brand exposure and relevant sponsorship opportunities, it will not be an exhibition.

The format has been agreed due to the present high level of uncertainty around travel. Juul-Mortensen and his fellow board members confirmed that existing travel requirements, testing procedures and other restrictions meant that numerous brands were not able to commit to the exhibition this year.

Without a critical mass, the association felt it was unable to host its customary exhibition, but did not want industry stakeholders to miss out on the opportunity for face-to-face meetings and networking opportunities.

However, John Rimmer, Managing Director, TFWA did say that Singapore was opening up more Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) and that PCR testing on arrival had been scrapped.

TFWA hosted an online press conference this morning (14 March).

TFWA hosted an online press conference this morning (14 March).

FOCUS ON LIVE NETWORKING

Educational sessions will be recorded, but will not be livestreamed, according to Rimmer, who stressed along with the other board members that the emphasis was on this being a live, in-person event; something which the industry is in serious demand of after so few physical events over the course of more than two years.

Responding to a question from TRBusiness, TFWA confirms that several hundred visitors are expected to attend. “There is no real limit on capacity,” said Rimmer. “We would hope that several hundred could attend.”

Both Rimmer, and fellow board member, Aude Bourdier, VP Managing Director, Global Travel Retail, highlighted that there is a rule of five in Singapore when food is being served, so the TFWA will avoid providing food at any social events (still to be determined) to allow for a greater number of delegates to gather.

The TFWA’s One2One service will be available once again this year.

Juul-Mortensen stressed that the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes, to take place 2-6 October, would return as a live in-person exhibition this year.

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