May 11 2022  |  Associations

TFWA AP Live kicks off in Singapore

By Laura Shirk at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Setting the scene with an upbeat message, Erik Juul-Mortensen at TFWA notes that the duty free business in Hainan generated US$9.47B in 2021; he also says this year’s TFWA Cannes event “promises to trump 2021”

Citing APAC as the driver of global recovery, Sunil Tuli at APTRA remarks with the continued support of shared strategies and tactics, “the recovery starts right here, right now”

Replacing the annual conference and exhibit, day one of TFWA Asia Pacific Live at Sands Expo and Convention Centre, welcomed delegates from across the industry to attend a full day of workshop-style learning sessions and meet both in-person and online (via TFWA’s ONE2ONE meeting service). Officially sponsored by Changi Airport Group, the revised format allows a TFWA AP event to take place in-person for the first time in two years.

Following opening remarks from Erik Juul-Mortensen, TFWA President, and Sunil Tuli, APTRA President, the first session featured keynote speaker, Charlie Ang, Founding President, The Innovators Institute. The theme: the future of consumption & commerce and four malign megatrends: 4th industry evolution, climate emergency, geopolitical disorder and ageing demographics.

Elaborating on the megatrends, Ang covered the fusion era and essential paradigm shifts in order to achieve 4.0 retail. He suggests the “future back approach” and an active imagination is required to project the future of the industry. To come: the disruption of AI technology and the advancement to physical (brick), digital (click) and fusion (speak). What does this mean for duty free? Ang talked about the potential to implement a “shop in a box” model, which would offer an immersive shopping experience, inspired purchasing and – with the help of an AI assistant – an exponential number of SKUs.


During his keynote speech, Ang at The Innovators Institute discussed four malign megatrends: 4th industry evolution, climate emergency, geopolitical disorder and ageing demographics

Consisting of back-to-back sessions, the afternoon featured a long list of industry executives, business experts and independent commentators as both speakers and panelists. Delegates had the opportunity to sit in on Focus on India, which addressed the country’s major role in regional recovery, and APTRA Exchange, respectively.

To explore current and future opportunities in the country’s duty free market, Focus on India introduced Ashish Chopra, CEO, Delhi Duty Free Services, Pravat Kumar Paikray, Assistant VP of Commercial Development, Bangalore International Airport Ltd., and Ashish Gandham, Managing Director of Global Travel Retail, Beam Suntory, to the stage.

Across the panel, all three speakers agree that penetration is the key to the success of the duty free business in India – especially in regards to focusing on its wealth gap and reaching “budget travelers.” Chopra attributes people, brand partners and quick decision making (respond, reset and renew) to overcoming the hardest period of the pandemic. Following a video introduction of the cultural treasure Bangalore, India, and a virtual tour of the soon to be unveiled Terminal 2 at BIAL, Kumar Paikray noted the importance of exercising a progressive calibration strategy. Capping off the panel, Gandham offered valuable insight from a brand perspective – notably, it’s expected that the Indian International PAX numbers will be in the top 5 by 2026.

Across the panel of the Focus on India session, the speakers agree that penetration is the key to the success of the country’s duty free business

Described as a knowledge-sharing session aimed to update APTRA members and their business partners on the current status of the duty free & travel retail industry in AP, APTRA Exchange is a replay not to be missed. A mix of presentation and panel discussion and made up of multiple parts, the last session of the day stylishly covered travel trends, corporate social responsibility and the changing dynamics in wine and spirits. See an outline of the comprehensive session below:

  • What’s on the horizon for the Travel Retail Sector – key learning during a pandemic – a presentation by Gordon Clark, VP of Business Development, ForwardKeys
  • Focus: the changing dynamics in W&S – a panel discussion moderated by Kapila Ireland, Editor, DFNI
    • Aude Bourdier, VP Managing Director of Global Travel Retail, Brown-Forman
    • Luke Maga, Head of Europe & Global Travel Retail, Distell International
    • Barry Geoghegan, Founder & Commercial Director, Duty Free Global
    • Steve Timms, CEO & Director, Lotte Duty Free Oceania
    • Experimentation among the Asian consumer, supply chain disruption, omnichannel strategy (and geo-targeting), data management and sharing, untapped opportunities in the W&S segment (wine integration) and regulatory challenges
  • Focus: future proofing a changing CSR landscape – a panel discussion moderated by Luke Barras-Hill, Managing Editor, TRBusiness
    • Sunil Tuli, President, APTRA
    • Alexander de Nerée tot Babberich, Global Account Manager Airlines, Heineken Global Duty Free
    • Chris Morriss, Director & Partner, Concourse
    • Simon van Moppes, General Manager of North Asia Travel Retail, Pernod Ricard

Key Takeaways:

  • With destinations gradually re-opening across the globe, travel to the APAC region has been accelerating into recovery mode
  • Compared to the first quarter, Q2 2022 looks more promising for global international travel; with holiday travel in mind, countries in the Caribbean and Latin America are the most booked
  • Although leisure travel is still leading recovery, business travel is catching up
  • There is strong reactivation among the affluent traveler profile; with the return of travel, many people are treating themselves in ways such as booking premium class seating

Discussion Topics

Across the panel, the featured speakers agree that re-invigoration of product assortment and a holistic view of nationalities across the APAC region will help to optimize trends such as the rise of localization and a growing sense of discovery among younger consumers (24 – 40 years old). Taking a look at the domestic playbook, it’s believed that it’s time to make the TR channel appealing again to consumers and retailers alike.

The members of the APTRA Exchange W&S panel talked about the importance of developing a holistic view of nationalities across the APAC region

Central to this discussion, APTRA’s recent launch of a new sustainability drive “to support its members in this area of growing importance to all businesses in travel retail.” Designed as an educational tool, the APTRA Sustainability Report will be released twice-yearly to highlight sustainability issues on the regulatory TR landscape.

The report measures regulations on their threat levels according to a four-point system:

  • Agenda building
  • Policy formulation
  • Policy adoption
  • Policy implementation

The final component of APTRA Exchange took a closer look at a fragmented topic that is top priority for those across the industry

Following the two-day networking event, registered delegates and TFWA members unable to physically attend can review replays of the learning sessions via the digital platform TFWA 365.

REGION Asia

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