MEADFA returns: Registration opens for conference at Jumeirah Creekside

By Luke Barras-hill |

DF&TR industry stakeholders will gather at Dubai’s Jumeirah Creekside Hotel near The Irish Village on 21-23 November.

Registration for the Middle East and Africa Duty Free Association (MEADFA) Conference is now officially open.

Managed by TFWA and hosted by Dubai Duty Free, the MEADFA Conference will take place at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai on 21-23 November.

Delegates to the MEADFA Conference, sponsored by Dubai Duty Free, Pernod Ricard, Nestlé, Imperial Brands, Swedish Match, Japan Tobacco International, Mazaya and Beam Suntory, will enjoy a busy programme of educational sessions and business networking including coffee breaks and lunches.

Sunday’s Opening Cocktail and Monday’s Gala Dinner will offer key opportunities to re-connect with colleagues and friends.


Those attending in person are advised to book early as there will be limitations on numbers due to capacity restrictions in line with health and safety measures.

These will be in place during the event to ensure the wellbeing of attendees. More information on these health & safety measures can be found by clicking here.

Those unable to travel to Dubai will have the opportunity to follow the conference through a paid livestream service hosted via the TFWA 365 digital platform.

“With many prominent industry leaders joining us in Dubai, this year’s MEADFA Conference is shaping up to be a vital event that will help reconnect the duty free and travel retail market during these extraordinary times,” commented Sherif Toulan, President, MEADFA.

“We’re looking forward to much lively debate and discussion during the conference, which will present the latest trends and solutions that will help the regional industry in Africa and the Middle East prepare for a brighter future ahead.”

Bassam Al Wardi, CEO and Board Director, Bahrain Duty Free will offer details on the exciting retail developments at Bahrain International Airport’s new terminal in a fitting conclusion to day one of the MEADFA Conference.


Toulan and Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, will provide welcome addresses on the opening day of the conference on Monday 22 November.

This will feature a panel session of leading industry figures in the Middle East and Africa including Ray Hernan, CEO, Aer Rianta International; Ramesh Cidambi, COO. Dubai Duty Free; Frédéric Chevalier, Chief Operating Officer – Europe, Middle East and Africa, Lagardère Travel Retail; Isabel Zarza, Chief Operating Officer – Central and North Europe, Russia and Africa, Dufry; and François Bourienne, Chief Commercial Officer, Abu Dhabi Airports.

In the afternoon, delegates will hear from Kamil Al Awadhi, IATA Regional Vice President Africa and Middle East and Airports Council International Africa Director General Ali Tounsi.

Both will offer insights into the shape of the recovery in international travel in the Middle East and Africa.

The first day’s conference will conclude with a presentation from Bassam Al Wardi, Chief Executive Officer & Board Director of Bahrain Duty Free.

He will discuss the retail offer at Bahrain International Airport’s new terminal.

Kicking off day two of the MEADFA Conference, Basmah Al-Mayman, Middle East Regional Director, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), will assess the path ahead for tourism in the Middle East.

Following this, there will be a talk from Delta Air Lines Regional Director Manoj Kuriakose who will share the lessons learned for the airline during the global crisis.

Issues issues facing African aviation and related industries will be tackled in a panel session featuring Abderahmane Berthe, Secretary General, Africa Airlines Association; Aka Manouan, Chief Executive Officer, Abidjan International Airport (AERIA); Naledi Khabo, CEO, Africa Tourism Association; and Isaias Diaz, General Manager Africa, Dufry.

In the final conference sessions, Rita Chidiac, Chair of the MEADFA Advocacy Working Group and Sandra Uwera, CEO, COMESA Business Council, will highlight the latest advocacy work being undertaken on behalf of the DF&TR industry in the Middle East and Africa.

Dr Jennifer Cords, Director Corporate Affairs, Business Compliance & Corporate Responsibility, Gebr. Heinemann, and Richard Gray, CEO, ARI Middle East, will also examine how brands and retailers can meet growing consumer demand for sustainability and digitalisation.


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