Three Decades of Service to the Global Duty Free & Travel Retail Industry

After three decades of service to the duty free & travel retail industry, Tax Free World Association (TFWA) can take satisfaction in the knowledge that it has contributed to a 1000% growth in global sales, from USD $6 billion in 1985 to USD $60 billion last year, and supported the industry through some extremely challenging times.

A non-profit making membership organisation working under the motto ‘by the trade, for the trade’, TFWA staged its first duty free & travel retail trade exhibition in Nice in 1985 and thereafter moved to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, Cannes where the annual event has remained ever since.

As the doors closed on the 30th TFWA World Exhibition & Conference, TFWA reported that once again visitor numbers had exceeded expectations, beating attendance at every other event in the Association’s history.

“We are extremely satisfied with the whole event again this year,” commented Erik Juul-Mortensen, President TFWA. “So many of the stands in the exhibition have been outstanding, the content of the conference and workshops was most instructive, the amount of business conducted was amazing, and the general ambience has been very positive. The excellent visitor figures demonstrate that the duty free & travel retail industry is flourishing which, I hope, justifies my optimism that we will achieve impressive business development in the coming years and, hopefully, another ten-fold increase in global sales over the next three decades.”

A total of 6,701 visitors from 3,105 companies attended the event, staged at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès from Sunday 26th to Friday 31st October, up +6% on 2013. Of the total, 2,132 people (32%) were “key buyers” - duty free & travel retail operators and landlords of airports, airlines, ferry and cruise lines, border and downtown duty free stores. Adding agents and distributors to this figure produces a total of 4,511 influential trade executives from 1,750 companies.

These trade visitors had come to do business with the 471 exhibiting companies, 45 of them new or returning after an absence, showcasing thousands of products.

At the opening Conference on Monday 27th a record number of delegates were treated to presentations by Gen. Colin Powell, USA (Ret.) 65th US Secretary of State, Alexandre de Juniac, Chairman & CEO, Air France-KLM and Erik Juul-Mortensen, President TFWA. The workshops on market opportunities in Latin America, the threat of counterfeiting to the luxury goods industry, and inflight retailing provided vital information for delegates to take back to their day jobs.

One of the principal tenets of TFWA is that participants should have the opportunity to network in pleasant surroundings and this year was no exception. Golf and pétanque tournaments, a Charity Run in aid of good causes supported by TFWA Care, a glamorous Welcoming Cocktail and The Scene after-hours venue provided boundless opportunities for meeting up with colleagues and making new contacts in the industry. The glittering finale was Le Premium Evening with a live concert by Chic fronted by Nile Rodgers and dinner created by 3* Michelin chef Regis Marcon.

The success of the event is testament not only to the health of the global duty free & travel retail industry but to the awareness of all stakeholders that the opportunities for future growth are exciting.

Details of forthcoming events can be found at


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