The MEADFA Conference

2022 Programme

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On-site registration


Desks open at the Art Hotel & Resort in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain

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Opening Cocktail


Art Hotel & Resort

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On-site registration

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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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Bahrain: leading the recovery

With a brand new airport consolidating Bahrain’s status as a key travel destination in the Gulf, the Kingdom is well placed to help drive the recovery of travel & tourism in the region. The opening session of the MEADFA Conference will hear from the business leaders shaping the industry in Bahrain, including Gulf Air Acting CEO Waleed Abdulhameed al Alawi, and Bahrain Duty Free Chief Executive Officer & Board Director Bassam Al Wardi.

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Middle East & Africa Leaders Panel

The 2022 MEADFA Conference takes place at a time of hope and uncertainty for the duty free & travel retail industry. While the demand for travel post-Covid is high, the travel industry’s preparedness has been put under pressure. And although the summer season has been busy at airports around the region, recession looms in many key tourist-generating markets.

This session will bring together some of the leaders of the regional duty free & travel retail industry to assess the current and future state of the market, sharing experience and insights on the road ahead.

Speakers include Rob Marriott, CEO of Aer Rianta International-Middle East; Ramesh Cidambi, COO of Dubai Duty Free; and Isabel Zarza, COO North & Central Europe, Russia & Africa at Dufry Group.

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Networking coffee break

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West Africa: unlocking the potential

West Africa is widely seen as one of the continent’s most promising tourism markets. But it remains relatively untapped, in part owing to connectivity and infrastructure challenges. What needs to happen for the region’s potential to be unlocked?

Featuring Kojo Bentum Williams, Founder and publisher, VoyagesAfriq Travel Media and Lead Communications, UNWTO Africa, and Gordon Clark, Vice President Business Development, ForwardKeys, who will present the latest travel data for the African continent. Other speakers to be confirmed.

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Smart futures

Innovation and new technologies are turning science fiction into reality. The evolution of smart cities is enabling new forms of sustainable air transport to emerge, bringing with it new opportunities for brands and retailers.

This session will hear from Keith Hunter, Chief Retail Officer at Urban Air Port, on the potential for new forms of transport as smart cities are created across the world.

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Defending our industry

As our industry emerges from the most serious challenge in its history, MEADFA has been working to defend the interests of its members across the Middle East and Africa. This important session, steered by the MEADFA Advocacy Working Group, will update delegates on the latest regulatory and other challenges of which companies in duty free need to be aware.

Speakers will include the Chair of the MEADFA Advocacy Working Group Rob Marriott and MEADFA Board Members Roger Jackson and Mazen Kaddoura.  This session will also hear from Sarah Branquinho, President of the Duty Free World Council.

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Networking lunch

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Gala Dinner

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On-site registration

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Welcome from moderators

John Rimmer and Dermot Davitt

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Sustainability in action

Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword: it has moved to the top of the agenda for retailers and brands alike. How are brands and retailers adapting their businesses to combine operational excellence with social and environmental responsibility?

This session will hear from Lagardère TR CEO Saudi Arabia Munif Mohammed, Mars Wrigley Global Sales Director Marcus Hudson and Bahraini sustainability champion and Founder, New Normal Consultancy Shivani Sathasivam.

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The supply chain challenge

From container shortages to geopolitical conflicts via Covid, the world is experiencing serious disruption to global supply chains. But even before the current state of global trade, supply chains had been in transition, thanks to a range of factors such as changing consumer preferences, evolving trade conditions and environmental concerns. How are recent supply chain issues impacting travel retail, and how are suppliers and retailers rising to the challenge?

In response to the new context, the delegates will hear from Sharon Beecham, Senior Vice President Purchasing, Dubai Duty Free and Christian Munstermann, General Manager GDF&E and Travel Retail, Imperial Brands. 

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Networking coffee break

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Cruising to success

The cruise market in the Middle East & Africa is a relatively untapped market with rich potential. Several leading cruiselines have identified the region as a future driver of growth, and are investing in new vessels and routes. This session will explore the potential of the maritime market in the Middle East & Africa, with contributions from market specialists Adrian Pittaway, Retail Director, MSC Cruises, and James Prescott, Managing Director, Harding Bros.

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Rebuilding tourism in East Africa

Markets such as Ethiopia and Kenya were thriving pre-Covid, and will continue to play an important role in Africa’s emergence from the pandemic. This session will look in detail at current travel to and from the region, and share traveller profiles & retail trends.

Delegates will hear from Surafel Saketa, Manager Group Business Development & Equity Partner Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines; and Baptiste Duguit, Vice President Business Development, Lagardère Travel Retail.

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Meta-retail

The merging of the physical and virtual worlds is set to bring new life to shopping. Retailers and brands are now viewing the metaverse as the future of e-commerce given that its potential to change how consumers interact with their products and stores is exponential.

While some major domestic retailers are taking early advantage of the metaverse, what are its implications for the duty free and travel retail industry? How will our market find its place in the metaverse?

With Kevin Alderweireldt, co-founder of creative tech company and Metaverse specialist Bureau Béatrice.

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Networking lunch