October 29 2014, 7:16 AM

The response of the duty free & travel retail community to the forthcoming Middle East & Africa Duty Free Association Conference, which will be held at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai on 24th and 25th November, is enthusiastic.

According to TFWA which manages the Conference on behalf of MEADFA, registration is gathering pace and sponsors and media partners have been quick to offer their support for the event, including several companies which are supporting for the first time.

The highlights of the 2014 programme include a keynote address from Issam Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing which intends to position Dubai as the world’s leading tourism destination and commercial hub. Dubai is preparing to host Expo 2020 and is part-way through an ambitious programme of enhancements to the Emirate’s transport infrastructure.

Key to the forecast growth of passenger traffic through Dubai’s airports is the ambitious expansion of Al Maktoum International Dubai World Central. Paul Griffiths, CEO Dubai Airports, will outline the company’s commercial vision for one of the world’s most exciting aviation projects, a strategy which employs the latest technology and puts the customer centre stage.

Matthew Brown, MD Echochamber, will explore the most exciting retail developments around the world in ‘Retail Reinvented’, identifying examples of good practice.

‘The MEADFA Debate’ will discuss the question: “Do retailers do enough to support premium brands in Middle Eastern airport retail?” with delegates voting and commenting using the tablets provided. Speakers will include Qatar Duty Free Senior Vice President Keith Hunter, Hamila Duty Free CEO Tarek Yassine Hamila, Luxottica Head of Global Channels Francis Gros, L’Oréal Luxe Travel Retail EMEA Giorgio Armani and Designer’s Fragrance Director Stefan Dembinski and former Chanel International Director Michel Mignot.

Duty free & travel retail sales in Africa are growing rapidly, albeit from a small base, and the continent has been identified as a region with extraordinary potential. But how much do retailers and suppliers really know about the African consumer? In ‘Reimagining Africa’ the keynote address will be given by marketing expert Thebe Ikalafeng, founder of Brand Leadership, followed by a discussion featuring Philip Morris General Manager Duty Free Middle East, Africa & Indian Sub-continent Arnaud Piorkowski and Tourvest Ground Duty Free CEO Blacky Komani.

The conference is not intended to be a passive affair; delegates will be encouraged to contribute their expertise also in the two workshops. ‘Inflight: to the next level’ will explore how technology and new retailing techniques could be exploited to raise the game of onboard sales with speakers John Baumgartner, Director of Business Development at Inflight Service, Gary Mayger, Sales & Business Development Director at GuestLogix and Mounir Seifeddine, Head of Inflight & Catering Purchases at Middle East Airlines.

In the ‘Understanding BRIC travellers’ workshop Garry Stasiulevicius, MD Counter Intelligence Retail, Peter Irion, Executive Director, Gebr Heinemann and Simone Horn, Trade Marketing & Category Development Manager Global Duty Free, Imperial Tobacco Group will focus on Indian, Russian and Chinese travellers and their evolving needs and expectations.

Duty Free World Council President Frank O’Connell and MEADFA President Sean Staunton will summarise regulatory ‘Challenges to growth in the Middle East’.

Abu Dhabi Airports Company Senior Vice-President Business Development Dan Cappell will update delegates on the commercial vision for Abu Dhabi International Airport’s new Midfield Terminal in ‘A new beginning in Abu Dhabi’.

In ‘New frontiers’ Middle Eastern and African duty free at border, seaport, ferry and diplomatic stores will be explored by Jordanian Duty Free Shops CEO Haitham Al Majali and Flemingo Director & Board Member Paul Topping.

Industry stakeholders have responded enthusiastically to the call for support for the MEADFA Conference. Dubai Duty Free will host a delightful Gala Dinner, the glittering Welcome Cocktail is offered by Dufry Sharjah and a Luncheon will be provided by the brand POLICE. The Official Carrier, Emirates airline, is offering registered MEADFA Delegates great savings on their flights to Dubai.

The Platinum Sponsors include Imperial Tobacco, Gebr Heinemann, ARIME/ BDF, AirStyle Travel Retail, Pernod Ricard (also supplying cocktails), Philip Morris and newcomer Kajal Perfume.

Kings Tobacco and Haribo join Ferrero, Gulf News and Tourvest Duty Free as Gold Sponsors; Tyko Travel Retail adds its support to that of JTI, Diageo (also supplying Gala drinks) and Gulf Beverages as Silver Sponsors.

Mars joins Nestlé in sponsoring the coffee breaks, LS Travel Retail will provide lanyards and Al Nassma Chocolate, Clarins, Mondelez, Perfume Holding, Sweet Garden Travel Retail, Zamora International and newcomer Kings Tobacco will provide samples for delegates to take away and enjoy later.

The trade media have come up trumps with advertising and editorial support. The list of media partners includes Duty Free News International, Frontier, Frontier Brands, Gulf Africa Duty Free, The Decision Makers, The Moodie Report, Travel Retail & Duty Free Markets, Travel Retail Business and Travel Retailer International.

Sean Staunton, President MEADFA, said, “MEADFA and TFWA have built an excellent programme for this year’s MEADFA Conference with a very strong line-up of speakers. We could not bring this project to fruition without the valuable input of our sponsors and media partners and I would like, on behalf of the MEADFA Board, to thank them for their ongoing support. I look forward to welcoming you all to Dubai for a stimulating and intriguing conference.”

Full details of the MEADFA Conference are provided at