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Trade tensions, diplomatic differences and stock-market volatility may cause the occasional hiccup, but it seems little can stop the rise of the Asia Pacific traveller. IATA’s recent 20 Year Air Passenger Forecast predicts that over half of all new passengers in the next two decades will come from Asia Pacific, that traffic growth there will outstrip every other region, and that China will replace the USA as the world’s largest aviation market in the mid-2020s. More immediately, preliminary data from Generation Research for the first half of 2018 show Asia Pacific industry turnover increasing by 15%, up from the 11.6% rise for the 12 months of 2017. Whether looking to capture business within the region or market to its citizens as they travel further afield, duty free and travel retail professionals need to stay firmly focused on Asia Pacific.
As the industry’s regional summit, TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference naturally reflects regional dynamics. The 2018 edition drew record visitor numbers to see 309 exhibitors on two floors of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre. The 2019 event, to be held from 12 to 16 May at the same world-class venue, is shaping up to be another major gathering. 250 exhibitors have already confirmed their participation and visitor interest is strong. In addition to around 10,500 square metres of floorspace, companies taking stands will be able to use TFWA’s One2One service to meet senior executives from the region’s airports and airlines, as well as cruise and ferry operators.
The full 2019 programme, including an update of the Conference and Workshop format, will be published in the coming weeks, but early details of the networking opportunities reveal a historic new venue for the Opening Cocktail while the Singapore Swing Party, which marks the week’s social highpoint, moves to Ola Beach on Sentosa Island. Hotel accommodation for the summit can be booked via the TFWA website from the start of January, and online pre-registration will be available at tfwa.com from mid-February.