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27 November
14:00 - 18:00
19:30 - 21:30
Opening Cocktail
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Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre

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28 November
08:00 - 08:30
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08:30 - 08:35
Welcome from moderators
08:35 - 08:45
Welcome address
08:45 - 09:20
Middle East at the crossroads

At a challenging time for tourism in the region, how does the UNWTO see the prospects for inbound and outbound traffic? What more can the travel industry do to drive growth in tough circumstances?

UNWTO Regional Director Middle East Amr Abdel Ghaffar will update delegates on travel trends and explain how the tourism business is vital for prosperity and peace.


09:20 - 10:00
Delivering the promise (part 1): Dubai in focus

Neck and neck with Seoul Incheon in a bid to be the world’s number-one duty free location by sales, Dubai International Airport has undergone a facelift recently with the opening of the new concourse D. And with the gradual build-up of passenger traffic at Al Maktoum International Airport, the aviation industry in the emirate continues to flourish. Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin will discuss the opportunities ahead at a time of change at the Middle East’s leading travel retailer.


10:00 - 10:45
Delivering the promise (part 2): Dag Rasmussen, CEO, Lagardère Travel Retail

The contract gain at Abu Dhabi’s new Midfield Terminal is the Paris-based company’s first major entry into the Middle East market. How will it adapt its commercial strategy to the demands and challenges of the region? Lagardère Travel Retail CEO Dag Rasmussen will explain how the Middle East is at the heart of the retailer’s development plans.

10:45 - 11:30
Coffee break
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11:30 - 12:15
Retail 2025

Given the pace of development in technology, modes of consumption and communication, domestic retail is in a state of constant flux. How will developments on the High Street influence the DF and TR industry over the next ten years? How must customer service evolve to meet the needs and expectations of tomorrow’s travelling consumer?

Delegates will hear from two experts on retail and on the disruptive changes the industry is undergoing: Dubai-based advertising and marketing consultant Joseph Francis Bihag and Jason Ming Lead Consultant, ThoughtWorks.

13:00 - 13:45
Awaking Africa

Confirmed 2015 sales figures from Generation Research suggest that duty free & travel retail in Africa suffered a double-digit decline last year, despite stable passenger traffic. Despite the continent’s growing prosperity, our industry is struggling to capitalize. In this session, retailers and brands will discuss how to put that right.

Featuring Suzie Wokabi, founder of fast-growing Kenyan beauty brand Suziebeauty; Flemingo International Director and Board Member Paul Topping; and Tourvest Ground Duty Free CEO Blacky Komani.

12:15 - 13:00
North Africa: the road back

One of the region’s most important markets, North Africa has been hit hard by a fall in tourist traffic over the past 18 months. In this session, a panel of leading retailers will discuss the impact of recent events and how landlords, brands and retailers can respond to restore growth.

Featuring IDFTA Director Sherif Toulan, IDFS Morocco Executive Vice-President Christopher Tantoco and
ATU Duty Free Chief Strategy Officer Ahmet Kötehne.

Lunch followed by afternoon networking
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19:30 - 23:00
Gala Dinner
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29 November
08:30 - 09:00
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09:00 - 09:45
Delivering the promise (part 3): Jack MacGowan, CEO, Aer Rianta International

Aer Rianta International is one of the retailers that helped create the duty free industry in the Middle East. Having strengthened its regional portfolio with gains in Abu Dhabi and Oman, how does the company see the future for retailing in this region? ARI CEO Jack MacGowan will explore how the industry can adapt to ensure it continues to offer value to travellers.

09:45 - 10:30
Disrupters of 2017

The coming year promises dramatic change, in the Middle East, Africa and beyond: a new administration in Washington, a potential victory over ISIS, collapsing oil markets and political tensions in Europe and Asia. What are the indicators and warning signs to watch?
How will they affect trade and travel, especially in the Middle East? Television journalist and Middle East expert Jay Tuck will assess the disruptive forces that will shape the business environment over the next twelve months.

10:30 - 11:15
Coffee break
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11:15 - 12:00
Millennials in the Middle East

Over the next decade, Millennial travellers (born between 1981 and 1995) will enter their peak earning and spending years.  Their behaviour, choices and priorities are fundamentally different to those of their parents. What does their emergence mean for the duty free & travel retail industry in the Middle East?

Google Dubai Senior Industry Analyst Vrinda Singh is a travel expert for the tech giant and author of Winning the Middle East Millennial Traveller, while Elena Nikolova is the creator of award-winning travel blog for Muslim Millennials, Both will share their insights into this vital generation of travellers.

12:00 - 12:45
Confronting industry challenges

An update on the most significant issues requiring action from our industry, including the defence of air passenger rights, packaging regulations, tobacco and liquor restrictions and more.

This session will feature MEADFA President Sean Staunton and European Travel Retail Confederation President Sarah Branquinho.

12:45 - 13:45
Building the business together

After years of significant annual growth, the industry in the Middle East is going through a challenging period. Currency shifts and geo-political tensions have combined to stall growth, although the dynamics underpinning the business remain sound.

In this session, delegates will hear from leading brands and retailers on how the regional industry can adapt to a changing landscape in order to restore growth.

Speakers will include Qatar Duty Free Senior Vice President Luis Gasset, Dubai Duty Free Senior Vice President Marketing Sinead el Sibai, Nestlé International Travel Retail General Manager Stewart Dryburgh, JTI Worldwide Duty Free Geeral Manager Middle East, Africa, UK & Ireland Philip Haine and Dufry CEO Asia, Middle East and Africa Andrea Belardini

13:45 - 13:50
Closing remarks
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