The Meadfa Conference

Key players in the duty free and travel retail industry from across the Middle East and Africa will head an impressive line-up at the 2017 MEADFA Conference, managed by TFWA and hosted by Beirut Duty Free. 
 The event is being held under the patronage of H.E. Saad Hariri, Lebanese president of the council of ministers, who will address delegates on day one of the conference. 

Also among speakers on the opening day of the event will be Phoenicia - Aer Rianta Co. chairman Mohamed Zeidan, one of the pioneers of the regional duty free industry since first winning the duty free contract at the old Beirut Airport in 1979. Ali Tounsi, secretary general of ACI Africa, will offer his perspective on the steps airports in Africa need to take to realise the continent’s undoubted potential for duty free and travel retail. 

The conference programme will also feature a strong focus on the Middle Eastern consumer, courtesy of Karl Nader, partner with Strategy& (part of the PwC network) and the co-leader of the firm’s consumer and retail business in the Middle East. Counter Intelligence Retail research director Stephen Hillam will follow this with a look at today’s travelling consumer in the Middle East and will present the findings of an exclusive new study for MEADFA. 

Day one will close with a session entitled ‘the MEADFA Challenge’, designed to showcase initiatives that will help engage the regional traveller in new ways. Beirut Duty Free and Dufry are among the retailers taking part. 
 Tuesday’s programme will open with an examination of the business outlook for the Middle East and Africa, featuring an exclusive report for the MEADFA Conference compiled by Emerging Markets Intelligence & Research founder and chief executive officer Trevor McFarlane. Oman Airports general manager commercial operations Samer Ahmed Mohammed Al Nabhani, meanwhile, will reveal the company’s ambitious commercial plans for the new airport hub in Muscat. 

 African aviation consultant and former CEO of SA Express Airways Inati Ntshanga and Mounir Seifeddine, director of purchasing at Middle East Airlines, will then give delegates an airline perspective of the prospects for the region. 

MEADFA vice president and Aer Rianta International Middle East CEO Nuno Amaral, ETRC president Sarah Branquinho (Business Relations Director, Dufry) and Dubai Duty Free senior vice president, finance Bernard Creed will lead a panel discussion explaining regulatory and other challenges facing the industry in the Middle East and Africa, before the final session of the conference, in which broadcaster, branding and African business expert, Victor Kgomoeswana will explore the current climate for brands and retailers in Africa amid the rapid growth of the continent’s middle class. 

A lively and entertaining programme of social events will ensure there are plenty of opportunities for networking, which will begin with an opening cocktail reception sponsored by Dufry at the Eau de Vie Lounge in the Phoenicia Hotel at 19:30 on Sunday 19th November. This will be followed by a gala dinner on Monday 20th November held at the Music Hall, Starco, sponsored by Beirut Duty Free. Starting at 20:00, the evening promises to be a night to remember in a mythical theatre where the heart of world fusion music beats with live musical acts and performances. 

Platinum sponsors of the MEADFA Conference 2017 include Aphrodite Duty Free Shop, Dubai Duty Free, Jordanian Duty Free Shops, Nadiya, Kings Tobacco International and Al Rifai. Gold sponsors include Aer Rianta International, Lagardère Travel Retail, Pernod Ricard, and Oriental General Trading. Silver sponsors include Castania and International Duty Free Shops. Beverly Hills Polo Club, Nadiya, Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris will be exhibiting at the event. The event’s smoking lounge will be sponsored by JTI. Coffee breaks will be sponsored by KitKat and Petit Gourmet. Product distribution will be sponsored by Mondelēz International, Zalatimo Sweets, Majani and Castania. The event’s media partners are The Moodie Davitt Report, DFNI, Frontier, Frontier Buyers’ Guide, Gulf-Africa Duty Free & Travel Retailing, TRBusiness and TRI. 

The official carrier for the event is Middle East Airlines, which is offering special delegate rates for conference attendees. 

Haitham al Majali, MEADFA president, said: “It is a great honour for MEADFA that H.E. Saad Hariri, Lebanese president of the council of ministers, has agreed to be patron of this year’s conference, and we are indebted to him and to our friends and partners in Lebanon for their assistance in staging the event. It promises to be an extremely interesting and informative two days in a city that has long been renowned not only for its hospitality, cuisine and entertainment but also for its rich history and cultural heritage. We look forward very much to welcoming our industry friends and partners to Beirut and encourage all those with an interest in Middle East and Africa duty free and travel retail to attend.” 

Erik Juul-Mortensen, president of TFWA, said; “After a challenging period for our industry in the region, the signs are that growth is returning, and we trust that this will be reflected in another successful MEADFA Conference. As ever, we at TFWA are proud to be associated with the event and we look forward to two days of insight and debate.” 

The MEADFA Conference 2017 will take place between 20th and 21st November.