There will be a fresh feel to this year’s TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference with more floorspace, a revised Conference format and new venues for the Networking programme. One thing, however, remains constant – the region’s duty-free and travel retail momentum.
After finishing 2017 with 12.6% growth, sales to travellers in Asia Pacific accelerated in 2018 to around +15% for much of the first nine months according to Generation Research. That impetus is certainly being felt in the run-up to TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference (12-16 May in Singapore). For the first time, floor space at the Exhibition will exceed 11,000 square metres, reflecting strong demand from exhibitors.
More than 312 companies have already confirmed their stands at the Marina Bay Sands venue, surpassing last year’s total. Two important measures of regional dynamism are the number of first-time or returning exhibitors (60 so far, a new high), and the strong showing of Asian companies among the participants.
This year’s Conference debuts a new format, three consecutive plenary sessions replacing the previous plenary-plus-workshop model. Joining the TFWA and APTRA Presidents as keynote speakers at the morning session will be Robert Guest, Foreign Editor of The Economist newspaper, and Kate Ancketill, who heads up retail-innovation consultancy GDR Creative Intelligence. The first afternoon plenary will look at industry developments through the eyes of two major retailers and the world’s most successful airport for retail sales. Professional training, sustainability, branding and store design, all central to the industry’s future, will figure in the final session. Throughout the Conference, delegates can contribute via the TFWA App.
Sales to travellers in Asia Pacific rose 14.7% in the first 9 months of 2018, according to recent data from Generation Research. That progress comfortably beats the worldwide figure of 9.9% and is more than double the uplift of the next-largest region, Europe. It also marks an acceleration over Asia Pacific’s 12.6% full-year growth in 2017. Whatever the geopolitical and economic clouds in the region’s skies, passengers still seem keen to shop on their travels.
As the industry summit for this geography, TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference has itself enjoyed robust growth recently, drawing a record 3,194 visitors last year. The strong business momentum suggests the 2019 edition will be even busier. Lancel (Fashion & Accessories), Chow Tai Fook (Jewellery & Watches), By Terry (Fragrances & Cosmetics) and Stoli Group / Cognac Prunier (Wines & Spirits) are among the exhibitors making their Singapore debut or returning after a break.