August 22 2017  |  Associations

ACI Africa’s Ali Tounsi hosts Commercial Forum to discuss expected duty free growth

By Wendy Morley

At ACI’s Africa Commercial Forum, taking place as part of the 27th ACI Africa/World Annual General Assembly, Conference & Exhibition from October 16-18 in Mauritius, discussion will be on the potential presented by increased passenger numbers and the opportunity for airports and their commercial partners.

Africa’s airport infrastructure is expanding rapidly as the region sees impressive passenger growth. The continent’s air transport sector is expected to have an annual growth rate of +5% projected over the next 20 years, to reach more than 300 million passengers per year.

ACI Africa’s Secretary General Ali Tounsi sees the time as being right for airports and commercial partners to maximize potential together. He says Africa's connectivity in the context of globalization is inseparable from the growth of its airports sector and harnessing commercial revenues is key.

Tounsi expects the second Commercial Forum to build upon the success of the first, which took place this March in Livingstone, Zambia, with more speakers and more participants, reflecting the progress of the duty free industry in the region. He feels the growing duty free sector in Africa deserves its own forum structure to highlight its specific issues to a wider audience through public debate.

The ACI Commercial Forum, taking place over a half-day, will feature two panels of senior industry figures and regulators. Tunde Oyekola, ACI Africa's President of World Business Partners, is expected to lead one of the two panels. Tarek Yassine Hamila, a key retailer, Zouhair Mohamed El Aoufir, from the Moroccan Airports Authority, and Gemma Bateson, Corporate Affairs & Communications Director duty-free at JTI have already been invited, with more to follow. Among other topics, regulatory issues will be addressed, including the World Health Organisation’s Tobacco Control Treaty’s Binding Protocol on Illicit Trade of tobacco products, which could severely penalize sales in duty-free shops at airports.

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