If evidence were needed of the growing significance China holds for global duty free and travel retail, the latest TFWA China’s Century Conference would be a good indicator. The calibre of the speakers and strong attendance figures – the highest turnout to date – demonstrate the importance of this fast-evolving market and its outbound travellers.
The bi-annual conference’s third edition, held from 7 to 9 March in Guangzhou, had a speaker line-up that featured many of the leading airports, airlines, retailers and brands active in China or marketing to the country’s growing body of outbound travellers. While the recent rise of offshore and downtown duty free points to a desire to capture more traveller spend at home, the international perspective of Chinese travel retailers was underlined by China Duty Free Group’s ambitions to expand within Asia Pacific and Europe, as its president revealed at the Conference. Another key theme was the increasing use of digital technology by passengers and the companies hoping to sell to them.
Generously hosted by Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport Co, the event drew over 400 delegates from more than 200 companies, both figures substantially higher than at the 2015 Conference. Brands and suppliers made up the largest contingent with more than 40% of those present this year, but fully one in three attending was from a landlord or retailer. ONE2ONE, TFWA’s dedicated meetings service, arranged a record number of introductory encounters between companies interested in local partnerships, the Opening Cocktail and Gala Dinner providing further scope for making contacts.
Individual speaker presentations can be viewed by following the links, while the video review gives a flavour of proceedings in Guangzhou.