24 November
14:00 - 18:00
19:30 - 22:00
Opening Cocktail
25 November
8:30 - 9:00
Networking & Coffee
9:00 - 9:05
Welcome from Moderators

Welcome from moderators Dermot Davitt and John Rimmer

9:05 - 9:15
Welcome address by Haitham Al Majali, President of MEADFA
9:15 - 9:30
Welcome address from official host, Dr Khalfan Said Al Shueili, CEO of Oman Aviation Services and Chairman of Muscat Duty Free

Welcome address from official host, Dr Khalfan Said Al Shueili, CEO of Oman Aviation Services and Chairman of Muscat Duty Free

9:30 - 10:15
Focus on Oman

With the opening of the new Muscat International Airport and the growth of national carrier Oman Airways, the outlook for aviation and related businesses in Oman has rarely looked brighter. The opening session of the MEADFA Conference will look in detail at current and future developments in the host nation, courtesy of Oman Airports Management Co CEO Sheikh Aimen Ahmed Al Hosni.


10:15 - 10:45
Leading at a time of change

Aer Rianta International is the most experienced international retailer in the Middle East, with a presence in markets such as Bahrain, Oman, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, plus a debut in Abu Dhabi to come. At a time of new developments and rapid change in the marketplace, how does the retailer assess the challenges ahead? This session will hear from Aer Rianta International Chief Executive Ray Hernan, making his first speaking engagement in the travel retail industry.

10:45 - 11:15
View from Dubai

The world’s biggest travel retailer in a single location, Dubai Duty Free, achieved over US$2 billion in sales last year. The retailer is redoubling its efforts to increase spend among key nationalities at a time of intensifying competition from other sales channels. The retailer’s Chief Operating Officer Ramesh Cidambi will give his thoughts on the issues currently shaping the business in Dubai and beyond.

11:15 - 12:00
Coffee Break
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12:00 - 12:40
Trading through turbulance

Amid turbulent times in the airline industry, what does the short- and long-term future hold for airlines in the Middle East? And how might airlines be encouraged to work with other aviation and commercial stakeholders to improve spend per passenger for the benefit of all? One of the region’s longest serving airline executives and former CEO of Royal Jordanian, Gulf Air and SaudiGulf Airlines, Samer Majali, will offer an expert view on the aviation outlook in the region.

12:40 - 13:20
F&B and duty free: joining the dots

As the range of food and beverage options in airports becomes wider amid increasing traveller spend, what lessons can duty free & travel retail learn from the sector? And how are leading airports harnessing the cross-selling opportunities that exist? Featuring Dubai Airports Executive Vice President, Commercial Eugene Barry and MMI Emirates Leisure Retail Group CEO Andrew Day.

13:20 - 17:00
Lunch followed by afternoon networking
Gala Dinner
Sponsored by:
26 November
8:30 - 9:00
Networking & Coffee
9:00 - 9:45
Connecting with digital natives

The new generation of travelling consumers have the latest tech gadgets in their palms, are hyper-connected, and eager to embrace innovation. Brands and retailers must reassess their plans and transform the way to communicate, connect and market with one of the fastest growing consumer markets in the world. This session will hear from leading social media strategist Andrew Davis on how companies catering to travellers can better engage with the digital native generation.

9:45 - 10:30
Building brands that matter

Customers today expect more from brands than just product, and shoppers in the Middle East and Africa are no different. Issues such as sustainability and well-being are increasingly influential in the choices consumers make. How are our market’s leading brands adapting to this fundamental change in customer behaviour? This session will feature some of the travel retail industry’s leading brand-owners to explain how they are changing their approach to remain relevant.

This session will feature John McDonnell, Managing Director International of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and Karl Marnane, Director of Sales at Butlers Chocolates.

10:30 - 11:30
Travel retail in Africa today

Growing disposable income across Africa is expected to drive travel demand in the years ahead. How do travellers from this vast, diverse continent perceive the current duty free offer? And how does their behaviour differ from that of travellers in other regions?

Delegates will hear highlights of a new study commissioned by TFWA and conducted by m1nd-set to explore traveller behaviour among key African nationalities, plus the latest travel trends across the continent. Presenting the findings will be the authors of the study, m1nd-set Founder and CEO Dr. Peter Mohn and Project and Business Development Manager Anna Marchesini, while Dufry Africa CEO Isabel Zarza will provide a retailer’s perspective on travel retail in key African markets today.

11:30 - 12:00
Coffee Break
Sponsored by:
12:00 - 12:40
Market focus

An in-depth look at two key travel retail locations in the Middle East region, both with renewed commercial offers: Muscat and Amman. With Muscat Duty Free General Manager Rob Marriott and Airport International Group Chief Commercial Officer Deema Anani.

12:40 - 13:10
Defending our industry

As ever, the MEADFA Conference will update delegates on the issues that the industry must address if it is to safeguard its growth in the Middle East & Africa. Such issues include changes to tax regulations, packaging restrictions, changes to allowances and many more. This session will hear from the associations that are helping to coordinate the industry’s efforts to defend itself. Featuring Middle East and Africa Duty Free Association Board Member Rita Chidiac and European Travel Retail Confederation Secretary General Julie Lassaigne.

13:10 - 13:45
Closing keynote address

In the age of the empowered consumer, everyone is a retail expert. Today’s consumer has more choices than ever for both convenience and inspiration. Great technological leaps forward bring both benefits and problems for businesses today. In this final session, the MEADFA Conference will hear from business and branding expert Professor Samar Baqer of Kuwait University’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Unit, who will offer her insight on effective branding and how to target young customers in an ever more complex market.

13:45 - 13:50
Closing remarks from Haitham Al Majali, President of MEADFA
13:50 - 16:00
Lunch followed by afternoon networking
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