Workshop C, moderated by Michael Barrett, Executive Officer, Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association looked at safeguarding our industry’s future with presentations from European Travel Retail Confederation President Sarah Branquinho, Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association Board Member and
Melbourne Airport Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Gardiner, Duty Free World Council President Frank O’Connell and GfK Global Head Travel & Hospitality Laurens van den Oever.
Sarah Branquinho highlighted the fact that passenger numbers are rising, but there is a drop in spending per head. An increase in legislation is a key threat, and even more troubling is the fact that different countries and regions are implementing legislation that varies widely.
Initiatives such as ever more prohibitive labelling laws, environmental legislation, standardised packaging for tobacco products and laws to limit tobacco allowances are a concern not only for tobacco and alcohol brands. Branquinho stressed that regulatory activity has an effect on all retailers, and warned that beauty and confectionery are also vulnerable to future changes. She added that there should be a push to ensure the duty free and travel retail industry isn’t required to adhere to domestic laws.
O’Connell emphasised the importance of data, and how data gathering presents the biggest opportunity for the duty free and travel retail industry to move towards a more sustainable future. According to O’Connell, economic impact studies provide evidence-based data, which is vital to support debate
with governments, politicians, state officials, regulators, trade organisations and international bodies.
Andrew Gardiner shared highlights from recent APTRA research which includes study into product categories, regional traveller habits and behaviour, and travel-related issues such as the impact of security and aviation regulation. He explained the importance of stakeholders pulling together to provide and present relevant data, something that didn’t happen in Australia when the government imposed tough legislation on tobacco.
Laurens van den Oever presented some of GfK’s latest data on the modern travelling consumer. He emphasised the importance of brands connecting more with consumers, moving the focus from ‘me’ to ‘we’. Van den Oever reiterated the importance of data, not only for political gain, but also to understand consumers and anticipate trends rather than reacting to them.
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