United Nations World Tourism Organisation data for 2017 show Africa as the fastest-growing regional destination for international tourist arrivals last year, with traffic up 9% on the previous 12 months. The continent’s ability to attract travellers is predicted to last by the International Air Transport Association. Forecasting global traffic trends over the next 20 years, IATA ranks Africa second only to Asia Pacific for passenger growth. Next in line is the Middle East which, together with Africa, is tipped to draw over 800 million air travellers by 2037.
It’s against this positive backdrop that the forthcoming MEADFA Conference (19-20 November in Beirut) will assess the current state and future prospects of duty free and travel retail. Recognising the importance of personal contact and relationship-building, this year’s event sees the introduction of an expanded networking programme. Before the Conference opens, delegates can enjoy a city tour of Beirut on Sunday 18 November with the compliments of MEADFA. The itinerary includes the corniche and the city’s famous souks as well as Zaitouna Bay. The Opening Cocktail takes place that evening in the Eau de Vie restaurant at the Phoenicia Hotel, the Conference venue in the heart of downtown Beirut. Monday night’s Gala Dinner at the Music Hall, renowned for world-fusion music, marks the social highpoint of the two-day gathering.
The MEADFA Conference is a must for anyone doing duty free and travel retail business in the region. Registration for the Conference stays open until 8 November at tfwa.com. Follow the link now to book your place at the industry’s essential annual forum for debate and exchange in this fast-moving region.