MEADFA President Sherif Toulan will open the conference with a welcome address on Monday 28th November. Within the opening session, participants will hear from some of Bahrain’s leading industry experts, Gulf Air Acting CEO, Waleed Abdulhameed al Alawi, and Bahrain Duty Free Chief Executive Officer & Board Director, Bassam Al Wardi.
The morning will continue with comments from prominent figures from the region’s duty free and travel retail industry in which they will assess the current and future state of the market in the Middle East and Africa. Speakers will include Rob Marriott, CEO of Aer Rianta International-Middle East, Ramesh Cidambi, COO of Dubai Duty Free, and Isabel Zarza, COO North & Central Europe, Russia & Africa at Dufry Group.
The afternoon sessions will explore unlocking the potential of West Africa, innovation, and insights into the regulations and challenges duty free and travel retail companies are facing. Delegates will hear from Kojo Bentum Williams, Founder and Publisher of VoyagesAfriq Travel Media and Lead Communications at UNWTO Africa, Gordon Clark, Vice President Business Development at ForwardKeys, Keith Hunter, Chief Retail Officer at Urban-Air Port, Waleed Khalaf, CEO of Smart Way Consultancy, Rob Marriott, Chair of the MEADFA Advocacy Working Group and MEADFA Board Members Roger Jackson and Mazen Kaddoura; and Sarah Branquinho, President of the Duty Free World Council.
Day two will begin with a discussion on how businesses are implementing sustainable practices while retaining operational excellence led by Munif Mohammed, Lagardère TR CEO Saudi Arabia, Marcus Hudson, Mars Wrigley Global Sales Director and Shivani Sathasivam, Bahraini sustainability champion and Founder of New Normal Consultancy. Attendees will then hear from Sharon Beecham, Senior Vice President Purchasing, Dubai Duty Free and Christian Münstermann, General Manager GDF&E and Travel Retail, Imperial Brands on how global supply chains are transitioning.
Later in the day, market specialists Adrian Pittaway, Retail Director at MSC Cruises, and James Prescott, Managing Director at Harding Bros will discuss the growth of cruise lines in the region. A session will then take place focusing on rebuilding tourism in East Africa, in which speakers will include: Surafel Saketa, Country Manager at Ethiopian Airlines and Baptiste Duguit, Vice President of Business Development at Lagardère Travel Retail. Rounding off the conference, Kevin Alderweireldt, Co-Founder of creative tech company and Metaverse specialist Bureau Béatrice, will examine the implications of Meta-retail.
Alongside the extensive learning opportunities, visitors to the conference will also benefit from a packed social programme, which will include an Opening Cocktail on Sunday, Gala dinner on Monday, and networking coffee and lunch breaks.
Our special thanks to Official Host, Bahrain Duty Free, for their incredible support of the event this year, and to Dufry for hosting the Welcome Cocktail, along with all of the sponsors, including Diamond Sponsors; Imperial Brands, Mazaya and Swedish Match, Platinum Sponsors; Dubai Duty Free, Aphrodite, Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail, JT International, and African + Eastern/Gulf Beverages, and Gold Sponsors; ANDS and Mondelez. Further support will be provided by Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail and African + Eastern/Gulf Beverages (Wine & Spirits Sponsors), A. Loacker and Nestlé KitKat (Coffee Break Sponsors). DFNI – Frontier, Global Travel Retail Magazine, The Moodie Davitt Report and TRBusiness have also been confirmed as Media Partners.
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