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Initial reaction to the news that the industry’s flagship event, TFWA World Exhibition & Conference, will be back in September (health and travel conditions allowing) was enthusiastic. The show’s pandemic-enforced hiatus in 2020 compounded what was duty free and travel retail’s most difficult year to date, so any sign of a return to more normal times is understandably welcome. To get a better feel for people’s attitudes, we contacted a sample of brand-owners.
“The whole team was excited about the plans to return to a physical fair in Cannes.”
There was broad recognition that online briefings and virtual events have provided a lifeline during lockdown, but also that in-person encounters offer something that cannot be replicated digitally. Pascal Lammers believes “We need to have the physical contact to build stronger relations, activities and get an understanding of operations”. Sebastian Alt agrees that online gatherings “cannot fully replace physical meetings”. For Elisa Fontana, “there is no substitute for sitting down with a client in person, discussing business over a coffee or just getting to know them over a drink in the bar”. To fragrance companies like Mavive, “face-to-face meetings are and always will be a need…perfumes cannot be presented only through a screen, the smelling experience is essential”.
“We need to have the physical contact to build stronger relations, activities and get an understanding of operations.”
Travel Retail Innovations
Asked to sum up the Cannes experience, Lammers defined it as “the most productive time in the year to meet with so many relations and share the launches and plans for the coming year”, while Haribo’s Fontana painted a picture that will resonate with many: “A week at TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes is worth more than a month in the office – frenetic, informative, productive, sociable – and twice as exhausting.”
Watch out for updates about TFWA World Exhibition & Conference over the next few weeks.