Dubai travel retail conference sees uptick in visitor numbers

This year’s Middle East & Africa Duty Free (MEADFA) conference in Dubai enjoyed an uptick in visitor numbers on last year, with 489 delegates attending in 2017 – a slight increase on the previous event in November 2016.

Running from 28 to 30 January at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai, this year’s MEADFA Conference looked at how economics, demographics and the broader business scene are affecting duty free and travel retail across the Middle East and Africa

Running from 28 to 30 January at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai, this year’s MEADFA Conference looked at how economics, demographics and the broader business scene are affecting duty free and travel retail across the Middle East and Africa.

The speaker line-up included official conference host Dubai Duty Free’s CEO Ramesh Cidambi, who offered his thoughts about the current trading environment, having achieved sales of $54m in a recent 72-hour promotional campaign, as well as general manager of commercial operations at Oman Airports, Samer Ahmed Al Nahbani, who shared his company’s plans for a new hub.

Also addressing attendees at the conference was aviation consultant and former CEO of regional carrier South African Express, Inati Ntshanga, and business broadcaster Richard Dean, who considered the current state of flux in sectors like oil and energy and their impact on business in the region.

Speaking at the conference, The MEADFA president, Haitham Al Majali, said: “I would like to thank all those people and organisations that have helped this event to be such a success. We are immensely grateful to our sponsors; we could not have put on the conference without them. I am pleased to say we have renewed our association with TFWA to organise the conference for another two years. We look forward to welcoming old friends and new colleagues to our next event, of which details will be announced very shortly.”

Growth in the Middle East, according to data from Generation Research for the first half of 2017, stands at 0.8%. While this is a slower rate than in some regions Al Majali was hopeful that this year would see more progress. The picture in Africa was less positive as sales had declined by 3.5%, but again he was confident about the future and said the potential in this continent is enormous.

The event’s opening cocktail was sponsored by Dufry and held at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel on Sunday.

The gala dinner was hosted by Dubai Duty Free and held at the Secret Garden at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, where live music was enjoyed long past a balmy Middle Eastern sunset and on into the early hours.

MEADFA Conference attendance figures 2018 vs 2016

 

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