As the world’s travel retail professionals prepare to head to the south of France for the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference next weekend, we highlight the unmissable events and brands to connect with at the event.
For anyone with a strong interest in travel retail there’s only one place you’ll want to be between 29 September and 4 October – the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes, France. A truly unmissable event in the duty-free calendar, this year’s show will return under fresh leadership after Alain Maingreaud succeeded Erik Juul-Mortensen as TFWA president.
Juul-Mortensen had been involved with the TFWA for 34 years – 19 as president. When he joined in 1985, the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference boasted 449 brand-owning companies, covered 6,000sq m of space, and attracted almost 3,000 guests. Last year, visitor numbers surpassed 7,000 for the first time and the exhibition space had expanded to more than 22,500 sq m. But Maingreaud is also experienced with the TFWA and the duty free channel.
“This will be my 24th year with TFWA, so while I will be attending Cannes in a new role, this will not be so different from my previous visits,” Maingreaud says. “I’m looking forward to learning more about the latest developments in our industry, as well as meeting up with colleagues and making new contacts on the exhibition floor and at the many social events taking place during the week.”
Kicking off the week’s proceedings will be former UK prime minister Tony Blair, this year’s keynote speaker. Blair – who led the country from 1997 to 2007 – will address delegates at the annual opening conference on Monday 30 September. As UK prime minister, he witnessed notable changes to the domestic and international political landscape. He will speak about his political experience and share his views on Brexit, foreign policy and other geopolitical matters.
Maingreaud says: “As always at the TFWA World Conference, our aim is to engage speakers who can help us better understand the times in which we live and do business. Our keynote speaker this year is someone with unrivalled experience of regional and global politics, who is able to address the often complex issues that are shaping the world economy. We are delighted to welcome Mr Blair to Cannes, and look forward to hearing his thoughts on a wide range of issues.”
But as well as traditional slots, such as the opening conference, there are many new perks to be discovered at the 2019 show. For the first time, guests will have the chance to explore the TFWA Innovation Lab, built on the success of last year’s TFWA Digital Village, which welcomed 32 exhibitors and 1,349 visitors in 2018. Open from 1-4 October, the TFWA Innovation Lab will be split into four categories: digital solutions and mobile technology; sustainability and CSR; services to retailers; and in-store design and research. The area will host around 30 exhibitors, including “tech-forward brands and airports, which will showcase ideas and products from a range of areas, including digital technology, customer engagement, in-store design, brand activations and sustainability”.
A closer look
“Our new Innovation in Action Workshop will also offer visitors a closer look at the importance of innovation in the duty free and travel retail market,” says Maingreaud. “The TFWA Innovation Lab will be located at an exclusive tented area opposite the Majestic Beach, beside the main exhibition at the Palais des Festivals.”
Be aware that there is a new registration area this year, too, which will now be located at the Gare Maritime. And when you head to Beach Village, you’ll be greeted with a larger exhibition space, as well. “Our three main social events – the Opening Cocktail, Le Premium Evening and our night spot, The Scene – will also have a new home within the stunning surroundings of Port Canto, offering more space for guests to relax and network,” says Maingreaud.
Adding to new highlights at this year’s event is a range of new wine and spirits exhibitors, including Lanson International Diffusion, Viña Concha y Toro, and Douglas Laing & Co.
For those new to the event, Maingreaud has some words of wisdom to share: “My advice would be to give yourself plenty of time in your diary to explore the exhibition halls – you will be sure to find something that surprises and inspires. We have a number of on-site services and marketing tools that will help delegates navigate their way around the Palais des Festivals, including our TFWA app. Our dedicated one-to-one meeting service will also help delegates organise those all-important meetings with business colleagues and key decision makers.”
But if there’s one part of the show Maingreaud recommends you make time for, it’s the Innovation Lab. “As our industry continues to grow, it is vital that we evolve and innovate in order to stay ahead of the curve. The TFWA Innovation Lab will offer new insight into how our business can adapt to new customer and market trends in the coming years.”
On the following pages, we highlight some of the events and spirits exhibitors worth looking out for at this year’s TFWA World Exhibition & Conference.