The number of delegates attending the 2023 Summit of the Americas in West Palm Beach has grown by over a third (34%) compared to last year, with 1,178 people visiting the show.
The figures were revealed this morning by Michael Payne, President and CEO of International Association of Airport and Duty Free Stores (IAADFS), at the event’s closing press conference.
A total of 389 buyers attended the Summit, which took place from 17-19 April at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, representing 33% of the total number of attendees and a 45% increase compared to 2022.
The figures are a major boost on last year’s event, which was the first after Covid, attracting a total of 878 delegates including 269 buyers.
“The numbers are good in my view – they tell a good story,” said Payne, who revealed that the association was targeting around 1,000 attendees this year.
Payne highlights an “uptick” in the number of visitors from the Caribbean and Latin America this year.
Furthermore, the event welcomed a 35-36 strong contingent from Dufry, while other retailers in attendance included Gone Bananas Duty Free, Aer Rianta International, HK Global Duty Free, Philipsburg Duty Free, International Cruise Duty Free, Sun Duty Free Antigua, Duty Free Americas, Cellshop Duty Free, Duty Free Belize, Paradies Lagardère, Motta Internactional, S.A., 3Sixty Duty Free, A to Z Duty Free, Heinemann Americas, Stellar Partners, and many more.
“Last year we had 45 exhibitors and this year we have 77, representing a 71% increase on 2022,” added Payne, while pointing out that exhibitor numbers were restricted last year.
Exhibiting companies spanned the breadth of categories, with leading names including Diageo, Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman, Pernod Ricard Travel Retail Americas, JTI International, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Duty Free Global, Nestlé International Travel retail, Proximo Spirits, Lindt & Sprüngli, GMAX Travel retail, Choya Umeshu USA and many more creating a buzz on the show floor.
“Anecdotal feedback we have received has been positive,” said Payne. “A number of exhibitors have already confirmed that they are coming back next year, and some would like to take a bigger space.”
The coffee and networking area on the exhibition floor was extremely busy, especially on the first two days of the show, as delegates embraced it as a top spot for impromptu meetings.
Payne spoke of the possibility of introducing an educational element for first time exhibitors in 2024 to help arm newcomers with the know-how they need to break into the duty free and travel retail industry.
Four educational conference sessions took place during the Summit. You can read our reports below…
The 2024 Summit of the Americas will take place from 14-17 April once again in West Palm Beach. The venue for 2025 is TBC.
Main image source: Palm Beach County Convention Center. Source PBconventioncenter.com_