View from the 2024 Summit of the Americas: Michael Payne video interview

By Trbusiness Editor |

In this video interview, International Association of Airport and Duty Free Stores (IAADFS) President & CEO Michael Payne shares his thoughts on the 2024 Summit of the Americas, while offering a timely update on the association’s advocacy priorities. 

Payne characterised 2023 as “very positive” for the Americas and IAADFS – which has this week announced it has adopted a new identity: the Duty Free and Travel Retail Association of the Americas.

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

“Overall, the numbers are positive,” he said. “People are travelling again in the region and flights are almost full capacity-wise.

“There are obviously some soft spots; we don’t have the level of Chinese travellers back yet to certain locations and business travel numbers are lagging, dependent on where you are, but overall, it’s a very good story. The cruise industry in the Caribbean, as an example, is booming.”

During the discussion, Payne touches on several existing challenges, including air fare hikes and labour market shortages that continue to exert a strain on airport and retailing operations.

“If people are having to spend up for airline tickets and hotel rooms are more expensive, it certainly affects how much they think they are able to spend for shopping. It doesn’t mean they are not going to do it, but they are more conservative.”

Aside lobbing on various issues, including aviation security and tobacco, IAADFS continues to support its members by ensuring that crucial rent and MAG relief is being applied for and utilised 
by concessionaires.

As reported, a funding package for concessionaires totalling $1 billion administered via the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in the wake of the pandemic has offered an important life raft for airport tenants.

Regarding the Summit, which is take place this week (14-17 April, 2024) at Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, Payne is upbeat.

“We’re excited to be back at West Palm and gathering the industry in the region again. We have a sold-out exhibit hall […], the meeting rooms are full, we have most of the big brands back and participating. The numbers look really strong in terms of registration, but we’ll have a much bigger  hit on site.”

Last year, the Summit drew 1,178 visitors – a 34% jump year-on-year. Buyers accounted for around a third of that share – a 45% increase on 2022.

“We are right on track with where we were last year, again depending on those onsite,” commented Payne. “The buyer numbers are really good; we had just over 380 buyers last year and I know this year we have a large contingent from Avolta/Dufry, they’ve got 35-37 buyers here and other companies have good delegations as well. I’m excited about that.”

It was confirmed this week the Summit of the Americas will move on from its West Palm Beach location in 2025 and will be staged in Miami.

Stay close to for our on location reporting from SOA, including the latest updates on registration and exhibitor numbers.

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View from the 2024 Summit of the Americas: Michael Payne video interview

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    View from the 2024 Summit of the Americas: Michael Payne video interview,

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