TFWA World Exhibition & Conference
TFWA World Exhibition & Conference 2018
This morning’s TFWA Conference ended on an inspiring note. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Denmark and former Secretary General of NATO, said that for a long-standing free trader like him, speaking to an audience of tax free professionals was a particular pleasure. The duty free and travel retail industry is one of sunshine and blue skies. But what he called the ‘foolish’ policies of political leaders is one cloud that could cause a storm. The current disorder of our world, American isolationism and growing nationalism are all a threat.

The consequence of this ‘foolishness’ will be economic decline resulting from trade wars, a crisis of democracy and the decline in the status and influence of Europe. It is the autocratic systems that will benefit.

To counter this we need to restore American global leadership, ensure that democracy is preserved, and democratic leaders must deliver to close the gap between the elite and those left behind. Rasmussen ended by quoting Roosevelt. To maintain international law and order, he said, it’s important to speak softly, but carry a big stick.

Adventurer and scientist Bertrand Piccard (pictured above), who made history when he and his co-pilot André Borschberg circumnavigated the globe in the Solar Impulse, an entirely solar-powered plane, ended the conference with a rousing appeal to all to consider how we can be more imaginative in our approach to our futures and make it possible to turn a dream into a reality. Firstly, we should not wait for widespread support, but take the plunge and start a project; then we will be compelled to carry on.

We should not surround ourselves only with people who agree with us, as we need to learn from those around us. We must ask ourselves what is the story we would like to tell.