Summit of the Americas attracts 1,207 registered delegates over two full days

By Luke Barras-hill |

L-R: IAADFS’ Michael Payne, President & CEO and Steven Antolick, Executive Director.

The Duty Free and Travel Retail Association of the Americas (formerly IAADFS) says 1,207* registered delegates (+2.6 yoy) attended the 2024 Summit of the Americas.

A total of 81 companies exhibited this year compared with around 74 in 2023.

Space in the exhibition hall spanned just shy of 26,000sq ft (net), with some previously unoccupied exhibit space being filled versus last year.

Retailers, operators, suppliers, distribution companies, brand agents and other stakeholders descended on the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach for the trade exhibition and conference on 14-17 April.

As in previous years, the exhibitor mix was heavily weighted towards spirits and liquor firms, combined with others from confectionery, tobacco and some beauty.

Hotel setting ‘favoured’ in Miami

Addressing members of the trade press at a closing media briefing on 17 April, IAADFS President and CEO Michael Payne relayed the positive feedback he has received from visitors on the quality of the buying teams attending the exhibition.

Tracking across the convention space, TRBusiness observed new buyers in the mix of attendees and stronger representation from certain quarters, including those from the Canadian land border shops sector, while the networking lounge area on level 1 appeared to be steadily busy throughout the week.

As reported, the Summit of the Americas’ association with the Palm Beach County Convention Center has now come to an end as the event eyes a move to Miami, Florida in 2025.

While the venue is yet to be confirmed, the association acknowledges it is likely to be within a hotel and appears to have ruled out another convention centre setting.

Asked by TRBusiness about the anticipated programme, Payne says a goal is to increase the volume of educational content, perhaps within workshops, alongside the exhibition configuration.

“We are going to have to stay a bit flexible on this,” he acknowledged. “Are some of the companies based in Miami going to want to take a private room/booth?

This year’s Summit of the Americas, which took its final bow in West Palm Beach, drew 1,207 registered attendees – up around 3% year-on-year versus 1,177 recorded in 2023.

“It will be a combination of exhibits, a lot of networking opportunities and then see who wants space. What the formula is exactly, I just don’t think we know yet.”

The association will be hoping that the vibrancy of Miami and its strategic importance as a key hub for the cruise market and gateway to South America and the Caribbean to coax delegates to the event.

Print and electronic copies of the TRBusiness March/April edition were available to delegates.

Aside full badge holders, there are hopes the location in Miami could appeal to day trippers visiting for business as a way to increase footfall on the trade floor.

Research from Board meetings among the association’s supplier base conducted in recent years has revealed that most of them desire a stronger educational element to the convention, reports Payne.

“These are senior folks asking for this and they are the ones signing the cheques, so we want to be responsive to that. One year we went to far and had too many; we’ll self-correct that.”

Steven Antolick, Executive Director, IAADFS, added: “It was very positive to be back – people really enjoyed the reception and networking opportunities.

“We are very appreciative of the companies that sponsored and attendees that joined us. The two education sessions were well attended and received very positive feedback.”

*Correct as of COB Tuesday 16 April; TRBusiness hopes to bring you the final audited figures from 14-17 April in due course…

READ MORE: IAADFS evolves; Americas summit to move to Miami

READ MORE: Americas travel retail landscape the focus of discussion on Summit day 1

READ MORE: IAADFS builds Board of Directors with execs from Pernod Ricard, Puig & Lindt

READ MORE: Video interview with Michael Payne

READ MORE: Federal funds boost US airports; Summit preview

READ MORE: 2023 Summit of the Americas attracts 1,178 attendees

 

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