Yet there remain serious challenges to growth. The geopolitical balance in key regions is fragile, as is consumer confidence in some important markets. Excessive regulation is a constant menace. And our industry must keep pace with a consumer that is ever more demanding, with expectations shaped by the seamless retail experience they enjoy online and on mobile.
The 2018 TFWA World Conference addressed these issues and more, with the help of a line-up of business leaders and experts with real insight both into our industry and into the global context in which we operate.
The Conference was opened by TFWA President Erik Juul-Mortensen, with his annual State of the Industry address. In what was be Erik’s final address to the industry in Cannes, he looked back at how far our industry has come since its humble beginnings, and looked ahead at the progress it must make in order to fulfil its potential.
To further debate the issues that the duty free & travel retail industry must address if it is to prosper, the Conference heard from a panel of senior retail executives, including Dufry CEO Julián Díaz, Gebr Heinemann Co-owner Claus Heinemann, Lagardère Travel Retail CEO Dag Rasmussen and King Power International Senior Executive Vice President Susan Whelan. The panel explored how our industry can and must adapt to a rapidly changing retail environment, addressing issues including digitalisation, the product offer and the business model.
The second part of the Conference heard from former Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Dr Bertrand Piccard, who conceived the Solar Impulse project to pilot an entirely solar-powered plane around the planet.
The TFWA World Conference was moderated by Stephen Sackur, journalist and presenter of current affairs programme HARDTalk on BBC World.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen has been at the heart of European and global politics for three decades. After a number of senior roles within the Danish government, he became the country’s Prime Minister in 2001 and held the post for eight years. On leaving government he was appointed Secretary General of NATO, a post he held until 2014.
With the global and regional political landscape in a state of flux and high uncertainty, Mr Rasmussen is well placed to help us better understand the context in which business currently operate. Having conducted wide-ranging reforms at NATO, and having played a key role at the heart of the European Union, he has a keen understanding of the pressures on both organisations and of their likely future.
Dr Bertrand Piccard hails from a family of scientific adventurers, and his exploits in aviation have inspired millions around the world. His most recent and arguably most impressive project was the successful conception and piloting of the Solar Impulse, the first entirely solar-powered aircraft to fly around the world. His story is one of endless perseverance against the odds, with important lessons for both individuals and businesses.