The Conference was opened by TFWA President Jaya Singh, in his first address to the industry in Cannes. In addition to the latest air traffic forecasts, Jaya explored some of the learnings from the current crisis, drawing on a range of industry opinion, and shared his views on the steps travel retail must take to ensure a rapid and durable recovery.
TFWA was delighted that the Conference was able to hear from one of Asia’s most influential and successful businesspeople. Jane Sun is the Chief Executive Officer of Trip.com Group (formerly Ctrip), a company which, since its creation in 1999, has grown to become the travel services partner of choice for over 400 million customers worldwide. Owner and operator of Trip.com, Skyscanner, Qunar and Ctrip, the company is the largest online travel agency in China. As CEO, Jane has a unique perspective on the travel industry in China and beyond, and she shared her views on the shape and pace of the restart in international travel and tourism.
The Conference also heard from the head of the leading luxury travel retailer – Benjamin Vuchot, CEO of DFS Group. Despite the challenging environment for travel, 2021 has been a groundbreaking year for DFS, culminating in the opening of a new landmark in duty free: La Samaritaine, in the historic heart of Paris. Benjamin addressed the future for our industry at a time of flux, touching on the ways in which travel retail can reinvent itself to meet the evolving expectations of travellers.
Of all the many stakeholders working to ensure a bright future for travel, airlines have arguably the most crucial role to play. Airline association IATA has been pivotal to efforts to ensure a swift and coordinated response to the challenge posed by the pandemic, notably through the IATA Travel Pass. The Conference heard from IATA Vice President Europe Rafael Schvartzman on the progress of its efforts, and on the short- and mid-term future for air travel as uncertainty persists.
When international travel restarts in earnest, our industry will need to cater to consumers whose perceptions and expectations will most likely be quite different. And appealing to younger, “Gen Z” shoppers will be especially important to brands and retailers alike. Jay Richards is the co-founder of Imagen Insights, a company that helps brands tailor their offer to Gen Z consumers around the world, thanks to its global database of young shoppers. Jay shared his thoughts on how the duty free & travel retail industry can ensure it is relevant to the next wave of travelling consumers.
The Conference was streamed live via the TFWA 365 online platform (where replays are now available), allowing industry colleagues unable to be in Cannes to follow the event. Delegates were also be able to put questions to speakers via the TFWA App, available for download via the Apple Store and Google Play.
The TFWA World Conference was moderated by Stephen Sackur, journalist and presenter of current affairs programme HARDTalk on BBC World.