‘Adapt & Survive’ video series: José Luis Donagaray, Secretary General, ASUTIL

By Andrew Pentol |

Donagaray smallTrade association Asociación Sudamericana de Tiendas Libres (ASUTIL) is working with several external organisations to help mobilise the industry in the region for the recovery from the coronavirus (Covid-19).

Work being undertaken with these organisations is in addition to meetings with governments, airports and local operators, in an effort to obtain support for the industry.

Speaking to TRBusiness during the latest edition of this publication’s Adapt & Survive Skype video series, José Luis Donagaray, Secretary General, ASUTIL said: “We are working with the World Tourism Organisation, for example, because tourism is very important for duty free. The World Tourism Organisation is one of our main partners along with the airports.

“In addition, we are working with the World Health Organisation and asking them for help now and in the future. We need everybody to be involved. This is not the time to construct worlds. It is the time to construct bridges.”


Donagaray, who undertook this video interview on Tuesday (28 April) directly after the latest ASUTIL webinar, says the recovery from the crisis will be tough in Latin America compared to elsewhere. “Latin America has the weakest economies after Africa. We have fiscal problems and fiscal deficits. The recovery here is going to be tough.

“The US has machines to print dollars, so it is very easy and the European Union has tough economies. The same can be said for Asian countries such as China and Japan.”

Asked for his thoughts on the recently announced Argentina air traffic suspension, which is in place until 1 September 2020, Donagaray remarked: “We need to understand that there are governments and regulators on one side, which indicate when things can happen and people on the other.”

He added: “September is a realistic time [to restart passenger flights to, from and within Argentina— Ed]. Maybe there will be some flights before, but September is a realistic time. It will also be the beginning of Spring in Latin America, so the weather will be good”

It has been well documented that ASUTIL is in dialogue with governments across the region to obtain help for industry stakeholders during the pandemic. Progress has been steady, according to Donagaray. “Discussions with governments in some countries are progressing better than those taking place in others. It is important to remember that governments are receiving requests for help from many sectors.

“In Brazil, for example, things are progressing well. All parties inside the airports are working together and we had a productive meeting with the government.”

Adapt and Survive asks members of the travel retail industry community, often working from home, for their candid commentary on the constantly evolving Covid-19 pandemic.

The video series is a direct response to the industry’s critical need for direct, factual and analytical commentary and – in typical TRBusiness fashion – interprets clearly and concisely the challenges faced by travel retail during Covid-19.

To register your interest in the Adapt and Survive series, please contact one of the editorial team at the following addresses: [email protected][email protected][email protected].



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