The MEADFA Conference 2021

2021 Programme

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Welcome from moderators

John Rimmer and Dermot Davitt

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Welcome address from MEADFA

With MEADFA President Sherif Toulan

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Welcome remarks from Dubai Duty Free

With the retailer's Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin

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Opening keynote session

To be confirmed

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Ready for the restart

With the gradual restart of international travel under way, the travel retail industry is emerging from the most serious crisis in its history. The pandemic has accelerated a number of trends that will shape the future of our market, such as digitilisation, and brought into question the traditional business model. In this session, some of the leading travel retailers in the Middle East and Africa will gather for a panel discussion to address the issues our industry faces in the “new normal” ahead.

Joining the panel will be Ray Hernan, CEO of Aer Rianta International; Ramesh Cidambi, COO of Dubai Duty Free; Frédéric Chevalier, Chief Operating Officer - Europe, Middle East and Africa at Lagardère Travel Retail, Isabel Zarza, Chief Operating Officer – Central and North Europe, Russia & Africa, Dufry, and François Bourienne, Chief Commercial Officer at Abu Dhabi Airports.

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Networking coffee break

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Travel in a new world

How will the pandemic change the travel experience? What measures are airports and airlines putting in place to ensure a seamless and safe environment for travellers? What impact will these measures have on travel retail?

This session will hear from Kamil Al Awadhi, IATA Regional Vice President Africa and Middle East, and Airports Council International Africa Director General Ali Tounsi.

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Regional data focus

Forecasting the future for travel and tourism is no easy task, given the continuing uncertainty arising from the restrictions that remain in place around the world. But as borders begin to reopen, what do travel bookings tell us about the shape of the recovery to come? In this session delegates will hear the latest air traffic data plus indicators of the short-term future for tourism in the Middle East & Africa, courtesy of Gordon Clark, Vice President Business Development - Travel Retail at travel analyst ForwardKeys.

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A new era in Bahrain

Bahrain International Airport’s new terminal will support the Kingdom’s strategic vision to strengthen its position as a hub in the Middle East. Equipped with the latest technologies and a “world-class” retail environment, the opening marks a new chapter in the history of retailer Bahrain Duty Free.

This session will hear from Bahrain Duty Free’s Chief Executive Officer & Board Director Bassam Al Wardi on retail developments at the Gulf’s newest terminal.

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Networking lunch

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Gala evening

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12:00 - 12:05 CET

Welcome from moderators

Dermot Davitt and John Rimmer

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Reimagining tourism

Tourism has been identified as a key economic pillar in the global post-covid19 recovery. The duty free and travel retail industry is looking forward to closing the year with an upward curve but challenges such as border restrictions and consumer confidence still remain a threat to the travel industry’s viability. How are the region’s leading travel associations managing recovery and promoting tourism in the region?

Providing her perspective on what lies ahead for tourism in the Middle East will be our keynote speaker on day two, United Nations World Tourism Organization Middle East Regional Director Basmah Al-Mayman.

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Readying for takeoff

The recovery of the aviation industry will depend on the capacity of the world's major airlines to get travellers back in the air, and in large numbers. Delta Air Lines is one company working tirelessly with partners such as KLM, Virgin and Air France to ensure a rapid return to normality. The MEADFA Conference will hear from Delta's Regional Director Manoj Kuriakose on the lessons the airline has learned during the crisis, and on the steps it is taking to be ready for the restart.

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Spotlight on Africa

The covid-19 pandemic struck at a time when the African travel retail market was beginning to fulfil its potential. This session will examine some of the specific issues faced by African aviation and related industries as the continent emerges from the crisis. What changes are being implemented at airline and airport level to quicken the recovery? And what role will tourism play in reviving African economies?

This session will hear from Africa Airlines Association Secretary General Abderahmane Berthe, Chief Executive Officer of Abidjan International Airport (AERIA) Aka Manouan, Africa Tourism Association CEO Naledi Khabo and Dufry General Manager Africa Isaias Diaz.

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Networking coffee break

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Defending our industry

The MEADFA Conference will provide an opportunity for delegates to hear more about the advocacy work being done on their behalf, in the defence of duty free & travel retail in the Middle East and Africa.

The session, moderated by John Hume of Hume Brophy, will include the latest information on the fight to defend duty free tobacco sales, and updates on regulatory challenges across all product categories. Featuring the chair of the MEADFA Advocacy Working Group Rita Chidiac and COMESA Business Council CEO Sandra Uwera.

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Futureproofing retail

Sustainability and digitalization is at the heart of every business plan as we move forward from a post-pandemic lifestyle. Consumers want it and our planet needs it. How do brands and retailers balance environmental and ethical demands with consumers’ ever-increasing expectations for speed, personalization, and convenience?

This session will hear from Dr Jennifer Cords Director Corporate Affairs, Business Compliance & Corporate Responsibility of Gebr. Heinemann and Richard Gray CEO of ARI Middle East.

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Networking lunch