Welcome address by Haitham al Majali, President of MEADFA
On behalf of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum Chairman - Dubai Airports, President - Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman & CEO - Emirates, by Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman & CEO, Dubai Duty Free
Dubai Duty Free has set its sights on reaching US$3 billion in sales within a few years’ time. As new retail space opens at Al Maktoum International Airport, and growing numbers of high-spending Asian travellers visit the UAE, that target looks realistic. But challenges remain, both regulatory and geopolitical. Dubai Duty Free Chief Operating Officer Ramesh Cidambi shares his views on the trading climate at the region’s leading travel retailer.
The ambition of state-run airport authority Oman Airports is to create world-class new facilities at the two main gateways to the country, Muscat and Salalah. The New Muscat International Airport, in particular, is among the region’s most exciting new aviation projects. Oman Airport Management Company Non-Aeronautical Senior Manager Faisal Sultan Salim Al Mamari will reveal commercial plans for the new hub, and discuss how both Muscat and Salalah will cater for a new influx of visitors to Oman.
In the light of the fragile oil and energy sector in the Middle East, amid other challenges to regional economies, one of Dubai Eye’s leading voices Richard Dean, Presenter of Business Breakfast, a daily radio talk show and podcast will offer his perspective on the region’s current state of flux and suggest how this will affect regional commerce in the mid- to long-term.
The customer profile in the Middle East is more diverse than ever, as travel to and from markets such as Iran and Indonesia becomes more accessible. In this session Counter Intelligence Research Director Stephen Hillam will present an exclusive new study for MEADFA, including details on key travelling nationalities in the Middle East, spending levels, purchase drivers and rates of footfall and conversion. Based on direct interviews with recent travellers, the study will offer a complete picture of retail behaviour and perceptions among today’s travelling consumers in the Middle East.
Air passenger traffic continues to rise in Africa. With strong increases in population numbers and disposable incomes expected over the coming decades, the continent’s future has never looked brighter – but its travel retail potential remains largely untapped. In this session Inati Ntshanga, aviation consultant and former CEO of South African Express, will explore the current climate in African aviation, and discuss the steps airlines and their partners need to take to exploit the continent’s undoubted potential.
This session of the MEADFA Conference will put the spotlight on innovation and initiatives that are creating excitement in the regional duty free & travel retail industry, and engaging travellers in new and imaginative ways. Among the initiatives featured will be a new, app-led pre-order service soon to be launched by Beirut Duty Free in partnership with Inflyter; a ground-breaking campaign by Dufry in support of the UN’s sustainability goals; plus ways in which Philip Morris International and others in the tobacco sector are helping to safeguard the sector’s future.
At a challenging time for business in the region, amid low oil prices and sluggish growth, what are the factors that will shape the business, economic and travel environment in the Middle East over the years to come? This session will feature an exclusive report for the MEADFA Conference compiled by EMIR (Emerging Markets Intelligence & Research) Senior Analysts Samir Sweida-Metwally and Gary McFarlane, including data and insights on growth projections, consumer spending, government and corporate strategies and other key issues and trends.
Despite geopolitical tensions and security concerns in some regions, the outlook for passenger traffic in the Middle East and Africa has rarely looked more positive – indeed, the recovery in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia offers more evidence of the region’s resilience. In this session Olivier Jager, Co-founder & CEO of travel industry analyst ForwardKeys, will look at recent traffic trends and explore what first-quarter travel bookings tell us about the year to come in the Middle East and Africa.
The fall in oil prices has helped many airlines return to profitability, but the aviation markets remains fragile, as shown by the difficulties faced by airlines such as South African Airways and Alitalia. What is the outlook for the airline industry in the Middle East and Africa? And what role can inflight retail play in ensuring a positive experience for passengers? Exploring these and other questions will be Inflight Sales Group Europe President Karen Durban-Villeval and African aviation consultant and former CEO of SA Express Airways Inati Ntshanga .
An update on the most significant issues affecting duty free & travel retail in the Middle East, Africa and beyond, including changes to tax regimes in the Gulf. Among speakers in this session will be MEADFA Vice President and Aer Rianta International Middle East CEO Nuno Amaral, ETRC President Sarah Branquinho and Dubai Duty Free Senior Vice President – Finance Bernard Creed.
As consumer markets in Africa develop, in line with the growing middle-class across the continent, what are the brands that are enjoying most success? What are they doing right, and what are the lessons for our industry? Victor Kgomoeswana is a broadcaster, branding and business expert on Africa, and the author of Africa is Open for Business. He will address current consumer trends across the continent, and offer a personal view on the future for business in key African countries.