Where the action is

06/04/2017 Glance at the travel retail news these days and most of the headlines seem to come from Asia. Already the leader in sales, the region is dominating when it comes to share of mind too.

Commercial clout and column space tend to go hand-in-hand, of course, but what is striking is the breadth of coverage Asia Pacific commands. From geopolitical clashes (think THAAD and its effects on outbound Chinese travel) to commercial alignments (such as Lagardère’s alliance with China Duty Free Group) or the growing role of digital in travel retail, where Asian players excel at brand, retailer and airport levels, Asia Pacific is fast becoming a microcosm of global duty free and travel retail. Recent Generation Research data for the first 9 months of 2016 show this as the only region with real momentum. If the full-year 2016 figures indicate the expected rise in worldwide turnover, it will be due to Asia. This gives the forthcoming TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference (7-11 May in Singapore) added importance.

Mirroring the region it serves, the 2017 Exhibition is likely to be even bigger than last year’s, which itself set a new record for floorspace taken. Among the 316 exhibiting companies on 312 stands already confirmed for the Marina Bay Sands venue are Giorgio Armani (Fashion & Accessories) Heidi Klein (Fashion), L Brands (Fragrances), Nanyang Brothers Tobacco Co., Ltd (Tobacco), Morellato Group (Jewellery & Watches) and Be Relax (Gifts, Toys, Home Decoration & Electronics).

ONE2ONE, TFWA’s personalised appointment service, will be on hand to arrange introductory meetings between retailers, exhibiting brands and service concessionaires on the one hand and many of the region’s leading airports, airlines and cruise and ferry companies on the other. 2016 saw 30 airlines and even more airports participate.

At individual rather than corporate level, the 2017 Networking Programme features a full schedule of sporting and social events to bring delegates together. The highpoint will be the Singapore Swing Party, which returns to Universal Studios by popular demand. Guests will be able to make new contacts and catch up with colleagues while enjoying the rides, live music, entertainment and a host of dining possibilities. All of which seems entirely appropriate for a region where the action never stops.