Strong 2013 MEADFA Conference programme brings industry to Doha
October 23 2013, 7:15 AM

The Middle East & Africa Duty Free Association Conference, managed by TFWA on behalf of MEADFA, promises to be among the strongest editions yet, with a programme that includes many of the most dynamic companies and business leaders in the region.

The 2013 MEADFA Conference, which will take place in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Doha, Qatar on 25th and 26th November, will focus on four key themes: the role and importance of commercial activities in new airport design and infrastructure; geopolitical and economic challenges across the Middle East and North Africa; understanding consumers in the African continent; and defending the duty free and travel retail industry in the region.

After a welcome from Sean Staunton, MEADFA President, there will be a keynote address by Akbar al Baker, CEO Qatar Airways, who will share his vision of the Qatari capital’s New Hamad International Airport.

He will then be joined on stage by Paul Griffiths, CEO Dubai Airports and Kjeld Binger, CEO Airport International Group (Jordan) for a round-table discussion on the role of retail in new airport infrastructure and how new developments could result in a marked change in the quality of Middle Eastern travel retail.

In ‘Embracing Africa’ former Accenture South Africa Strategy Lead Grant Hatch, an expert on growth opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa, and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria CEO George Uriesi will help enhance delegates’ understanding of the African travelling consumer.

Homing in on Egypt, a country undergoing rapid and unpredictable change, Sherif Toulan, International Duty Free Trading & Agencies Director and Joachim von Winning Cairo Airport Chief Commercial Officer will discuss ‘Egypt: adapting to a ‘new normal’.

‘Coping with change’ is a theme common in the region and operators Philip Eckles, CEO, Aer Rianta International-Middle East, Iain Forrest, Deputy COO Dufry Middle East & India and John Reynolds, General Manager Travel Retail of Chalhoub Group will discuss how their companies are adapting their commercial strategies.

MEADFA President Sean Staunton and European Travel Retail Confederation President Sarah Branquinho will summarise current challenges to the industry and courses of action in ‘Defending our industry’.

Taking a quantum leap into the future, Changi Airport Group Assistant Vice President (Corporate Communications) Robin Goh and Virgin Megastore Middle East President Nisreen Shocair will explore their companies’ approaches to new media strategies in ‘Social media in action’.

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice-Chairman, Dubai Duty Free, operator of the biggest single duty free location in the world, will take part in a Q&A session on the retailer’s first 30 years.

World Duty Free Group is growing in the Middle East with new openings in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. CEO José María Palencia will assess the importance of these developments to the group and to the region in his closing keynote speech.

Sean Staunton, MEADFA President comments: “Our MEADFA Conference programme is designed to stimulate discussion about how the Middle East and Africa region should move forward with contributions from experts across the region.

“We are also breaking into workshop groups this year which will enable us to analyse specific issues in greater detail. There will be ample time for networking, which is a crucial element of such a forum, and this will be done in very pleasant surroundings thanks to our generous sponsors. The programme looks very promising and we look forward to a rewarding two-day event.”

Two workshops will be run on the first day: Workshop AMaking Airports Special’ to explore how speciality retail can improve both the customer experience and commercial yield, featuring MMI and Emirates Leisure Retail Group CEO Andrew Day, Qatar Duty Free Senior Vice President Keith Hunter and Brown-Forman Marketing Director – Global Travel Retail, India, Middle East & Africa Tim Young.

Workshop B ‘Innovation Inflight’ will analyse how the inflight retail offer will evolve in future, with Emirates Airline Vice President Retail Services John Sime, Kenya Airways Head of In-flight Services and Standards Emmy Letting and Montblanc Managing Director, International Travel Retail Frank Passmann on the panel.

The 2013 MEADFA Conference will be moderated by Dermot Davitt, Vice Chairman and Editorial Director, The Moodie Report and Michael Barrett, Executive Officer, Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association.

For registration and further details please consult For sponsorship opportunities, please contact

Platinum Sponsors: Qatar Airways (official airline), Qatar Duty Free (official host), Dufry Sharjah (Welcome Cocktail), Imperial Tobacco (Smoking Lounge), Pernod Ricard (Cocktail drinks), Dubai Duty Free, AirStyle Travel Retail, LeSportsac, ARIME and Bahrain Duty Free.

Gold sponsors: LS Travel Retail, Philip Morris, Tourvest Duty Free and Ferrero.

Other sponsors: Nestlé and Patron Spirits (coffee); Travel Retail & Duty Free Markets (portfolio); The Moodie Report (lanyards); Clarins (hostess uniforms) and delegate gifts are provided by Clarins, Ferrero, Imperial Tobacco, Mondelez World Travel Retail LLC., LeSportsac and Storck Travel Retail.

Media partners: Duty Free News International, Frontier, Frontier Brands, Gulf Africa Magazine, The Decision Makers, The Moodie Report, Travel Retail & Duty Free Markets, Travel Retail Business and Travel Retailer International.