This year’s MEADFA Conference welcomed a total of 441 delegates for its three-day programme of knowledge sharing and networking at The Art Hotel & Resort in Bahrain (27-29 November, 2022).
MEADFA President Sherif Toulan set the scene for the conference, with an inspiring opening speech calling for all parties across duty free and travel retail to join forces and act as one body as the industry prepares for recovery.
“Now is the time to look forward not back,” said Toulan.
“MEADFA is determined to play a central role in the resurgence of duty free and travel retail in the Middle East and Africa region.
“That role includes defending the interests of our members in the face of regulatory threats and other challenges.
“As founding members of the Duty Free World Council, we are also keen to support global efforts to defend our industry.
“As we gather here, it’s good to see passenger numbers that give us grounds for optimism, both in our region, and beyond.”
You can read our summary of the highlights of each day of the conference below.
The event featured a number of excellent networking opportunities, including the Opening Cocktail (Sunday) and Gala Dinner (Monday), at which the winners of the inaugural MEADFA Awards, hosted by Bahrain Duty Free, were revealed.
The MEADFA Awards were launched to recognise ‘innovative and world-class duty free and travel retail specialists in the Middle East and Africa region’.
All entries were reviewed by the MEADFA awards committee and evaluated and scored by an independent panel of judges.
The winners are as follows:
Best Retailer Award: Bahrain Duty Free
Best in Marketing Strategy: Nestlé International Travel Retail
Sustainability & CSR Award (two prizes according to the size of the company):
1. Dubai Duty Free
2. Bitmore Ltd
Customers & Suppliers Award (two prizes according to the size of the company):
1. Muscat Duty Free
2. Merlin, Soft Magic Systems Computers LLC
Further to the above, the Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice Chairman & CEO Mr Colm McLoughlin.
This special award is designed especially to honour ‘an exceptional leader who has made a remarkable contribution to duty free and travel retail, promoted strong leadership and has considerably impacted the overall strategy, culture, and development of the industry’.
Ramesh Cidambi, COO of Dubai Duty Free, collected the award of behalf of McLoughlin, who was unable to attend.
Over 460 delegates attended the MEADFA Conference in Dubai in 2021, which was the association’s first conference in over two years.