Global Travel Retail Magazine - November 2021

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NOVEMBER 2021 VOL 33 · NO 6

A stellar trajectory for Dubai Duty Free 10  Aer Rianta leads customer evolution 12  JDFS: Optimistic but ready 20

Letter from the Editor

All systems go


s has been said time and time again, our industry is resilient. Any sociopolitical discord strikes us more than most any other industry. But nowhere is that resilience stronger than in the MENA region. It can be difficult to wrap our heads around how much has changed over the past 19 months; it is now normal to talk about all-encompassing health regulations and case numbers. Many of us have to wear a mask and prove our vaccine status to take part in everyday life, and no longer do we take for granted that any borders will be open. But they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and Jordanian Duty Free CEO Haitham Al Majali is this adage in human form. His stance is firmly positive, while stating that the bad times have helped the company to be both optimistic and ready to cope with any emergency. Richard Gray of ARI certainly agrees, offering up numerous occasions when his company and staff have not only managed to come out the other side themselves but also help others through. People are traveling again, airlines are restarting their routes, and the important hub airports are bustling, both with people passing through and those who will stay, especially in Dubai, where Expo 2021 has begun in step with the tourist season — and MEADFA — and where Concourse A is about to reopen. Hamad International is getting ready to invite the world to its brand new terminal, which more than doubles the capacity of the airport, just in time to host the FIFA World Cup. The airport also celebrates its new position as “Best Airport in the World,” thanks in no small part to the experiences offered within its walls by Qatar Duty Free, which is fulfilling its commercial vision on a massive scale. After a year of canceled events, seeing colleagues in Cannes at TFWA World Exhibition and Conference was a truly wonderful experience, and it certainly hit home the value of face-to-face meetings and the strengthening of relationships these meetings bring. We so look forward to continuing these in-person dialogues in Dubai this year. Never again will we take for granted the ability to travel, to speak together in the same room, and to come to events such as the MEADFA conference, where we learn so much not only from the speakers but from each other. Undoubtedly there will be some who cannot make the event this year, whether because of a reduced capacity or for other reasons, but whether or not you are able to make it in person, we wish you a very successful time, and if you do make it, we look forward to seeing you there. Kindest Regards,

HIBAH NOOR Editor-in-Chief


NOVEMBER 2021 · VOL 33 · NO 6 Global Travel Retail magazine (ISSN 0962-0699) is published eleven times a year by Global Marketing Company Ltd. It is distirubted digitally worldwide, with printed issues in March/April, June, October and November. The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher or the editor. November 2021, Vol 33. No. 6. Printed in Canada. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. © 2021 Global Marketing Company Ltd. .






Lead Stories 22 MEADFA President: Sherif Toulan

7 Qatar Duty Free prepares to serve

The time has come The HIA terminal expansion will more than double the annual passenger capacity of the airport, from 24 million to 58 million next year. Alongside, QDF will offer double the retail, food and beverage options

12 Aer Rianta

International gets personal

Stronger together A region of many hubs, the Middle East is faring especially well in the recovery of international travel; this sets the stage for cautious optimism as MEADFA makes it a mandate to prepare ahead of time for challenges, reimaging and reinventing the way business is done


Building back better Setting the foundation of the sales environment, ARI prioritizes storytelling, engagement and a sense of compassion

20 On a positive note

Optimistic & ready Haitham Al Majali, CEO, Jordanian Duty Free, says the pandemic has forced the industry to learn how to respond to an emergency situation and build a positive space for the future

A deep dive on beautytech & daily viewership During this Q&A with Gary Leong at FOREO, we discuss how the sister brands met the growing demand of the Chinese consumer in 2021; tune in to learn more about the role of livestream broadcaster and the concept of brand education

42 Zamora talks employee care & work-life balance

Re-invention & recovery Following the peak of the pandemic, ZOC developed an employee survey to gain feedback and establish an official teleworking program


Features Dubai Duty Free rehires many TFWA WE 2021 review Mazaya sees a bright future

10 18 26

A life well lived 28 Iraq Duty Free has had a good year 30 Moroccanoil expands 34

18 42

Qatar Duty Free

time has come



The selection of shopping, food and beverage venues will continue to be enhanced in the leadup to the opening of the expanded airport, set to open in June 2022


As the travel retail operator at Hamad International Airport, Qatar Duty Free is an important partner in the evolution of the airport from its beginnings in 2014 to its present as the “Best Airport in the World,” and then to its future, prepared to serve 60 million passengers per year as Qatar’s tourism dreams are realized

n contrast to most of the world, for Hamad International Airport (HIA) and operator Qatar Duty Free, the year 2021 has been a good one. Among numerous accolades for the airport, the Skytrax World Airport Awards recognized Qatar Duty Free’s home of Hamad International Airport (HIA) as the “Best Airport in the World 2021.” The airport, which began operations in 2014, had been steadily rising up the ‘World's Best Airports’ rankings ever since it began operations in 2014. HIA was also awarded “Best Airport in the Middle East,” “Best Airport 25 to 35 Million Passengers,” “Best Airport Staff in the Middle East,” and “COVID-19 Airport Excellence.”

Bringing people home

Throughout this time Qatar Airways dedicated itself to offering repatriation flights. In the early days of the pandemic the airline continued while others halted operations, for the purpose of repatriation. Though these initial repatriation flights are long over, the airline continues to bring people home from challenging situations. On this topic, Qatar Airline won the “Investment in People” accolade from Seatrade Awards 2021 in recognition of its con-

tribution to the welfare of thousands of seafarers, having played a leading role in the repatriation of mariners stranded by the pandemic. Qatar Airways also continued to facilitate essential crew changes to support the global supply chains, and delivered essential supplies and cargo to those in need globally.

A COVID-19 innovator

HIA was one of the first airports in the world to implement thermal screening at key touchpoints, also ensuring the availability of hand sanitizers and personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout the terminal. Early on, the airport also intensified cleaning and disinfection protocols, and created a system to ensure the safety and wearing of masks for all its staff. Additionally, HIA prioritized a staff vaccination drive. In December 2020, HIA became the first in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating by Skytrax – a testament to the airport’s efforts, resilience, and operational excellence during the pandemic.

Consistent service

Qatar Airways is the largest airline to have flown consistently throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Its network never fell GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL MAGAZINE


Qatar Duty Free

egories already outperforming 2019. “Eighteen months on from the onset of the pandemic, at a now-busy terminal, we have seen that our customer behavior remains largely unchanged,” says Mr. Thabet Musleh, Vice President Qatar Duty Free. In coming months, many more new stores, boutiques and dining outlets will be revealed on a phased basis. These outlets will be located in both the departure and arrival areas. QDF will also be releasing its newly created Day2Day CTN brand. Qatar Duty Free has already begun offering an enhanced food & beverage offer, including grab-and-go eateries for those on the move, plus a range of dine-in outlets and fine-dining concepts to satisfy those customers with more time to spare. More F&B outlets will be opening during the leadup and at the debut of the expanded airport.

Looking ahead to 2022 Qatar Duty Free has begun offering an enhanced food & beverage offer, including grab-and-go eateries for those on the move

below 30 destinations despite a challenging financial situation, mainly to allow for repatriation flights for passengers stranded far from home. The airline continues to rebuild its network in line with the reopening of global travel and now serves over 140 destinations. By staying operational throughout the pandemic, HIA entered the top ten global ranks in terms of international passenger traffic, rising from the 16th position in 2019 to 6th in 2020.

Expansion continues

Phase A of the HIA terminal expansion, scheduled to open in June 2022, will more than double the annual passenger capacity of the airport from 24 million to 58 million next year. Phase B of the expansion will further increase capacity to 60 million. Along with a capacity that is more than double current levels, QDF will also offer double the retail and double the food and beverage options. The design is such that there will be two “hubs” within the airport for passengers to spend dwell time in a comfortable environment, with many options for shopping and other unique experiences.

World-class sporting events

Qatar made it a mandate to host a number of major sporting events by 2030, and the country is succeeding in that. Later in 2021 Qatar is hosting both the Qatar Grand Prix Formula 1 and the FIFA Arab Cup. In 2022, the country will host the FIFA World Cup 2022. HIA is the official airport of the FIFA World Cup, and Qatar Airways is the official airline. This will offer Qatar Duty Free the chance to offer branded items and other souvenirs to the millions expected to travel to the country for this, one of the world’s most popular spectator events.

Though many airports postponed planned renovations during this time, HIA continued with its expansion plans. Qatar Duty Free also expanded considerably, opening its famous “21 in 21” stores, and will continue to do so in coming months. “We turned the downtime across the lower traffic period to our advantage to accelerate plans to enhance our retail portfolio. We opened more than 21 new shopping and food & beverage outlets, catering to a range of tastes and budgets, including many global and regional firsts,” says [who do I quote here please?] Included in these firsts, Qatar Duty Free opened the first airport boutique in the Middle East for the fashion designer Valentino, the first stand-alone airport stores in the Middle East for Emilio Pucci, Fendi and Jimmy Choo. The retailer also opened the first ever Emporio Armani Ristorante and Emporio Armani Caffè in any airport globally. As well as enhancing the portfolio of luxury brand boutiques, QDF also opened a Big Value duty free shop concept, which offers products tailored to a budget-conscious consumer, with an emphasis on liquor, confectionery and mid-priced beauty. These openings helped keep revenue up in the airport, with +60% SPP in all new and redeveloped stores, and some brands and catQatar Duty Free opened the first airport boutique in the Middle East for the fashion designer Valentino


Dubai Duty Free

Fully operational

Dubai Duty Free’s newly built gold shop in Concourse B joins this one in Concourse D, offering more shopping opportunities for one of the operator’s most popular categories


Ramesh Cidambi, Chief Operating Officer at Dubai Duty Free, expressed how happy he will be to welcome delegates to Dubai for an in-person MEADFA this year



or Dubai Duty Free, recovery has been inconsistent, although according to Ramesh Cidambi, Chief Operating Officer at Dubai Duty Free, numbers have risen substantially each month beginning in August. While many of the airport’s routes were relaunched earlier in the year, travelers have remained few, increasing in recent months. In August, passenger numbers were at 30% what they had been in 2019. In September that number climbed to 37%, reaching close to 50% in October. As of the time of speaking with Cidambi at TFWA October, 60% of the flights had returned to the airport, with passenger numbers at 48% those of 2019, and load of about 75% capacity. These increases were mostly due to lifted or modified restrictions with some of Dubai’s busiest destinations including the UK, India and Saudi Arabia. January and February of this year had been strong, but Saudi Arabia went through a closing and reopening repetition that resulted in borders being shut for a lengthy period. Meanwhile, whereas things had been good in India, the country suffered a devastating wave in the spring, which caused a rash of severe restrictions in and out of the country.

And despite the fact that the UAE has continuously been one of the most heavily vaccinated in the world, it remained on the UK’s red list until recently. Currently, the situation with all of these three has improved dramatically. Saudi Arabia has reopened, Indian restrictions have lessened, and the UAE has been removed from UK’s red list.

Per-passenger spend

Dubai Duty Free is seeing the common trend of higher spend, brought about for a number of reasons including a different passenger profile, but also aggressive promotional activity on the part of the retailer. “Revenue per passenger is good,” says Cidambi. “Earlier in the year when passenger numbers were at 25-26%, spend was at 40%. Now passenger numbers have increased but spend is still up. In October we saw 50% PAX but 60% spend. Spend is outperforming PAX by about 15%. Spend is up first of all because we’ve created a healthy safe atmosphere where shoppers feel reassured. Then we are also creating a better shopping experience, and our communication is especially good.” He adds that travelers are also more likely to shop because they don’t know when their next opportunity will be, hav-

The Irish Village at Expo 2020. The event was postponed for one year until October of 2021, and will take place until end of March 2022

Duty Free orders some items specifically for Indian passengers; with no travel to and from India, this obviously meant sales of those items plummeted. Enticing promotions and a strong workforce with optimal communication skills are part of the reason per-passenger sales have been so strong

ing experienced everything from general travel restrictions to renewed lockdowns for coming on two years. They are sure to take advantage while they have the chance to be in the airport.

Reopening and rehiring

A boost towards increasing these numbers further, Concourse A at Dubai International is reopening. This concourse has continued to be closed throughout the pandemic; as of this reopening the airport will have the ability to return to full capacity for the first time since the pandemic began. The reopening of Concourse A comes just in time for the Emirate’s peak tourist season, which runs from November to March. Chief among benefits will be the rehiring of staff. One of the toughest decisions for management the world over during these difficult times was having to furlough staff. Cidambi says the reopening of Concourse D allowed the operator to recall 600 employees, and now 900 more have been recalled to Concourse A. “From 2500 laid off, as of November 1500 will be back,” he says. “They are currently busy training and remerchandising. We are very pleased with the numbers of staff returning.

Even before this had taken place, the airport reclaimed its place as world’s busiest airport in October. Dubai currently connects to 155 cities, though that number will soon increase. This all being said, Cidambi reminds us: “While the numbers are positive, the flipside is that passenger numbers are 28 million in 2021 vs 90 million in 2019. We still have a long way to go.”

Passenger behaviour

Cidambi is under no illusions that passenger spend will continue at this level indefinitely. “When passenger numbers reach higher levels, per pax spend will moderate,” he says. “The question now is, how is passenger behaviour going to change within categories? So far there has not been a big shift.” Perfumes, cosmetics, tobacco and gold continue to be the top categories, as is normally the case. There has not been any significant change, but tobacco is up 10% and P&C is up 25%. And, though the categories as a whole are not strongly affected, within the categories there have been great changes caused by the lack of certain populations. With the Chinese traveler not present, this strongly affects sales of some items, luxury items in particular. Also, Dubai

Improvements continue

During the quiet times, Dubai Duty Free continued to improve, creating a new gold store in Concourse B and preparing a Dior fashion boutique, which opened in October, and a Louis Vuitton store, which will open in December. Also during this time the operator worked on its digital engagement, acquiring customers, building database and using the digital realm to support its marketing strategies. Having aggressively worked to reduce its stock — which it did to about 50% — the company is now starting to see issues with supply. “We import about 70% of our goods, but even when we purchase from distributors, they are still located in UAE and logistics problems remain,” says Cidambi.

Positive signs

So far, the world’s travel trends are following what was forecast: domestic first, then international and then business. But Cidambi says in Dubai, business travel is returning. He says that recently at Jumeriah Creekside Hotel, which is owned by Dubai Duty Free, a large delegation was sent by a major skincare company. And things are improving with the regulations around sports sponsorship for the operator. “Last year we had only TV coverage for the tennis tournament,” he says. “The stands were all empty, and players had to play with no spectators. Next year there will be spectators to 80% of capacity. So things are improving.” GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL MAGAZINE


Aer Rianta International

Rebuilding better together Bahrain Duty Free increased the space for its cigar offering from 25 square meters previously to 40 square meters, and introduced a 58 square meters smoking lounge

M Ray Hernan, CEO of Aer Rianta International, sees airport retail as a part of the traveler’s entire journey, and would love to create an environment where all parties are engaged in helping to keep that journey a pleasant one



eeting both Ray Hernan, CEO of Aer Rianta (ARI), and Richard Gray, CEO of ARI Middle East, it comes as no surprise that for both of them the main goal in travel retail is to engage and delight their customers, because they are both engaging and delightful men. Hernan, whose background is in high street retail, says while high street has been “ravaged” by ecommerce in recent years, travel retail offers its own challenges. “The environment in the airport is more complex,” he says. “In a high street store, the customer journey begins when they enter the store. At the airport, that journey begins when they walk through the entrance, and continues through check-in, security, while they eat at any food and beverage outlets and until they board the plane.” For the vast majority of this journey, the retailer has no control over the customer experience. This CEO recently spent some time at an airport’s security clearance area. He says travelers are having to completely relearn how to travel, what they need to take out of their bags; they need to be retold everything. While this is challenging enough, the reality is that staff are in the same position. In many airports staff have had few travelers or been laid off completely, to come back with completely different rules after months off, while other airports are having to hire new. This can lead to frustration on the part of passengers that inhibits the feeling of wanting to shop, not to mention the decrease in dwell time that this circumstance engenders. For Hernan, the holy grail experience would be a system that feeds itself, creating a satisfying holistic journey integrating all areas of the airport, including airlines.

Aer Rianta International

Richard Gray has noticed that during the pandemic those who travel are more likely to purchase personal luxury items for themselves. Bahrain Duty Free offers plenty of opportunity to do just that, with a design and special services that are appealing for the luxury shopper

Getting to know the customer

Hernan says another challenging aspect of this channel is that it’s impossible to know your customer personally. In traditional retail the floor team will have a relationship with many of the customers, in some cases knowing them for years, whereas with very few exceptions this is not the case in airport retail. A connection with this traveling customer is a priority for the company. “Travel retail needs to somehow replicate knowing the customer, something that would be easier if more information could be shared,” he says. “Engagement” is the word that flows through conversations with both Hernan and CEO Middle East Richard Gray. Gray says, “A few years back, everyone was talking about ‘disruption’ — how to disrupt the customer journey. Why would we want to disrupt? That’s not very pleasant. We want to engage the customer; make them feel valued.” Evolution not revolution is his motto, with gentle subtle changes that delight the customer and create a pleasant, welcome, engaging experience. Hernan adds that this engagement should begin long before the traveler enters the airport. Ideally, the retailer would be able to engage with customers soon after they purchase their ticket, or at the very least it would be nice to be able to receive some infor-


mation from airlines about the demographics of the passengers, but airlines are notoriously reticent to share information. While Hernan is happy about the evolution of the relationship among the famous trinity of brands, retailers and airports during the pandemic, the lack of information sharing by airlines can be a frustration.

Buying trends

While sales are down, spend per passenger is up, in part because of increased dwell time and in part because of the ability for staff to communicate with passengers. A well-trained team is invaluable, with staff having the opportunity to engage with customers in a general atmosphere geared to enticing and delighting. According to Gray, there are a couple of interesting trends. One is because passengers these days are overwhelmingly adult, and purchase are very different for adults vs families. Another interesting trend is purchasing for oneself. “Travelers are buying personal treats like cigars, Rolex, higher-end vodka,” Gray says. “Not so much gifting to others, but rather more personal gifting.” He adds that this offers another opportunity for upselling, with staff having genuine interaction with customers: ‘You’re buying those handsome new cufflinks for yourself; what are you thinking of picking up for your wife?’”

In Bahrain International Airport, Bahrain Duty Free CEO Bassam Al Wardi created an environment so spectacular that visitors’ jaws drop when they enter

What’s good for staff motivation is also good for sales. For ARI, it’s important that staff feel motivated. The environment should be fun and enjoyable, where staff and customer both feel reenergized. ARI’s distinctly Irish existence is evident when Hernan discusses emotional engagement, where storytelling is an important aspect of the interaction.

A success story

Never has travel retail been the same story from country to country or region to region, but in the reality of the past year we can add from airport to airport. Cyprus is part of ARI’s Middle East region, and it has done exceptionally well. Larnaca’s sales surpassed 2019’s. In this airport in particular can be seen the positive result that comes from listening to one’s customer. Over and over again passengers have stated that they are bored with airport offer and would be more likely to shop if they found something unique. This desire is in part satisfied with travel retail exclusives, but ARI has found great success with its Kypriaka range. “Kypriaka goods must be manufactured in Cyprus,” says Gray. “The range offers a selection in multiple categories including liquor, beauty, fashion and food. Our Kypriaka goods sell better than top global brands.”

For Richard Gray, CEO of Aer Rianta International Middle East, here with GTR magazine’s Wendy Morley, the goal in customer engagement is “evolution, not revolution,” looking for a more gentle way to get the customer’s attention. Gray has just announced his retirement, and he will be sadly missed.

Ready for business

Preparation, being ready — this is a concept that comes up frequently in conversation with Richard Gray. “There are consequences of action, and consequences of inaction,” he says. When lockdowns began to occur, Gray’s team spent four weeks doing nothing but assessing key priorities and discussing. ‘What are the key priorities? What is the future? At what point are we ready to make some tough decisions?’ At this point currently, Gray says all stores are ready for what’s to come. These include owned stores, managed stores and partnerships. Teams are in place and well trained, stock is at appropriate levels, supply chain is in place and hygiene practices are solid. “Once travelers feel the environment is safe, they are desperate to engage,” he says. And confidence is growing. GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL MAGAZINE


Aer Rianta International

Bahrain — a new experience

Gray says the experience of first encountering Bahrain Duty Free as a moment so enchanting, such a “wow” moment, that you forget anything else you’re doing. He gives Bassam Al Wardi full credit, calling it “Bassam’s dream” and stating that Al Wardi — who was promoted to CEO and Board Director of Bahrain Duty Free in January of this year — hit the ground running. Bahrain International Airport never closed through the pandemic. This hub opened its new passenger terminal building early this year, serving 14 million passengers per year in a space of 210,000 square meters. The new terminal is an important cornerstone in the Kingdom’s Economic Vision 2030, which is aimed in part at attracting more business and tourism, in addition to increasing hub activity at the airport. As part of the overall vision, the decision was also made to bring shopping in the airport up to a higher level. Bahrain Duty Free, which won the concessions for duty free and specialty retail, has almost tripled its floorspace from 1,600 square meters to 4,700 square meters. The company is pledging to deliver an experience and store environments at “world class” level in the new facility, according to Al Wardi. “The new environment is bright, spacious, and with a wide perspective. It is beautifully laid out and is very different to what you will see anywhere else. We believe we have one of the very best duty free shops in the region.” The unique “boutique” design of the terminal creates an environment that motivates passengers to enjoy the amenities. Passengers can move through the space quickly, which leaves ample time for shopping and enjoying a meal. The ceilings are high and the design, which was inspired by the local environment of sand dunes and water, is inviting.

Looking after people

It’s said that you can get a real understanding of a company’s climate by speaking with those who run it. Meeting Hernan and Gray, one immediately gets the sense that people are central to ARI’s corporate existence. This is certainly evident in the way they speak about their customers and their staff, but the people focus of the company moves beyond the borders of its organization.

Throughout the pandemic and throughout the Middle East, ARI staff have had to deal with numerous challenges. It is obvious that Gray highly values the staff in his region for their resilience and positivity


At locations where vaccines were unavailable, the company supplied them. After the recent landfall of the deadly Tropical Cyclone Shaheen, Bahrain Duty Free offered help for colleagues and the community, offering food, water and clothing. Bahrain International Airport was a critical hub during the recent exodus from Afghanistan, with the Kingdom facilitating the evacuation process by allowing flights to take advantage of its location as a transit point before reaching their final destinations. The country’s location also means a large number of people have sought refuge in the country. The retailer has been an important provider, researching what is needed for these refugees and ensuring those needs are met. The company also did whatever it could to help the staff and the extended “resilient” community in Beirut after the devastating explosion of last year.

What digital means

When the conversation centers around customer engagement and the care of people both inside and outside the company’s direct connections, digital seems an unlikely next topic, but ARI’s digital focus does not stray far from the message. “We were already very advanced in our digital offering,” says Hernan, reminding us that the company actually released a new world-class digital platform in Montreal in the summer of 2020, one which is already available for travelers in Ireland and Auckland. “But we’re not going to compete with Amazon. The goal of our digital offer is not solely online sales; it’s to increase the breadth of choice for the customer and ultimately assist to make their experience with us more convenient, should they wish to use it.” For ARI, digital is an extension of its strategy of communication and engagement, with extra customer and staff support. “For us, digital is not solely online shopping. Yes it offers more opportunity for partnerships and marketing, and we can use it to help engage customers and drive them to the store. But most importantly, digital helps us bridge the gap to more personal communication.” And this brings us solidly back around to what Hernan says his own goals are in his role as CEO: in line with the newly defined ARI customer value proposition, to help create an environment where the shopper feels engaged, enticed and delighted, with a shopping time that feels more like an experience.

TFWA WE Cannes Review

H U M A N C O N TA C T Reduced numbers of exhibitors and attendees could have made TFWA WE in Cannes feel somber, but it was quite the opposite. Those who made it relished the opportunity to meet in person with colleagues again, and the atmosphere held an unmistakeable optimism by WENDY MORLEY


hen it was announced earlier this year that TFWA World Exhibition would be a live event in Cannes, the announcement was met with tempered excitement; after all, our industry had spent the past year or so having our hopes dashed as each ease of restrictions seemed to be followed by renewed lockdowns and each drop in cases followed by a rise. On September 1 in a press conference, TFWA President Jaya Singh (pictured left) was adamant: “The show will go on,” he repeated, and he was right. The event may not have been exactly as it had been in previous years, but for those able to attend, traveling and meeting with colleagues at the biggest event of the year felt normal enough that it was almost possible to forget at times the challenges we’ve all had to overcome. 18 GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2021

Day 1: Learning

First, an EU health passport was required to enter. Health passports or proofs of vaccination from other countries were not accepted, but a testing facility just steps away allowed entry for those who tested negative. Once through the gates, visitors entered a world that was at once familiar and unfamiliar. The conference was as interesting and relevant as always, but with most speakers appearing on screen rather than live. While some of the speakers may not have been in Cannes, their information was interesting and relevant. Jane Sun, Chief Executive Officer of Group (formerly Ctrip), the largest travel agency in China, offered insight into the Chinese perspective on travel both within China and beyond its borders.

Given the realities of hosting a show of this magnitude under current restrictions and guidelines, on relatively short notice and (presumably) with a reduced budget, the TFWA team did a truly excellent job. It cannot have been easy to deal with new regulations both to come into the event and to be within its walls, in addition to creating the event within these parameters with less lead time than usual. As an attendee one can only imagine the hoops the team had to jump through, and they certainly pulled it off.

Business is about people

Benjamin Vuchot, CEO of DFS Group, discussed the future of our industry and the reinvention necessary to appeal to the changing consumer. The effects of the pandemic on the air industry was the topic for IATA Vice President Europe Rafael Schvartzman, who also spoke of what needs to be done to bring the industry back to health. As millennials get older, the new target market is Gen Z, and Jay Richards, co-founder of Imagen Insights, offered advice on tailoring messages to Gen Z consumers.

Familiar and unfamiliar

Walking down La Croisette, the view over the Mediterranean was the same. The Palais des Festivals looked the same. We entered the same doors and went up and down the same stairs. Halls and entryways were in the same places, but some areas were eerily empty. Information booths helped delegates to wayfind, but with no books or maps, booth attendants did all the searching on the delegate’s behalf. And there was no mistaking the absence of half the usual crowds. On the trade show floor, again the familiar mixed with the unfamiliar — the Red and Yellow Villages were the same as ever, while the Green and Blue Villages

were cut down significantly. Bay Village felt almost normal, but Bay Terrace was a field of green. Companies with booths were often not in their usual location, which was surprisingly disconcerting. Interesting how accustomed to the familiar we get, sometimes unaware.

Final figures

As of the press conference on the event’s final afternoon, the numbers of exhibitors and attendees at the event were down about 50 percent from 2019’s figures, which for some was higher than expected, though this had been the estimate from TFWA. In all, 3,408 attendees visited 272 exhibiting companies across 262 stands plus five official boats docked in the Harbour Village. A total of 35 new exhibitors joined the industry’s largest event for the first time. With most of Asia either still in lockdown or demanding quarantine after travel regardless of vaccination status, it was all but impossible for those from that part of the world to attend, and their lack was keenly felt. But there were a multitude of reasons why some companies were unable to attend, from company travel moratoriums to simple finances; it was a tough year.

Leaving Cannes this year one thing was abundantly clear: Business does not take place the way it should when human interaction is not a part of it. Seeing colleagues and discussing future plans in person brought warmth, humanness, energy and even resolve that just does not come from a zoom call. Personally, I kept thinking: ‘companies that try to operate without this in-person human interaction will soon find themselves lagging behind those that understand its importance.’ While we can all be grateful that technology exists these days that has allowed us to weather a storm of unforeseeable magnitude, this event reminded us of the power and strength innate in face-to-face meetings and interpersonal relationships. Varying degrees of safety precautions were in evidence, but hand shakes and hugs were definitely a part of the interactions. The feeling of relative safety that came from knowing everyone was fully vaccinated opened the world up to a feeling of normality to which no virtual reality can compare. Most importantly, with very few exceptions those at the event found themselves very busy with exceptionally high-quality meetings. If optimism and business-forward thinking is any indication of what’s to come, then we are indeed in for a very good year ahead. This experience, then, helped us to understand on a visceral level that not only personal travel but business travel would be back. Over and over again we hear the phrase “it’s all about relationships,” and this event certainly proved that to be the case. Zoom might be enough for team meetings, but business is about people — that is something we must remember at all times, and never more so than now. GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL MAGAZINE


Jordanian Duty Free Shops


JDFS’ 23 stores are all land borders and sea ports, in addition to two downtown shops that serve non-residents and diplomats. As appears to be happening across the board, passenger spend is up, and is currently better than in 2019. “With lockdowns, people have not been traveling and so they spend more,” says Al Majali. Top categories continue to be tobacco, liquor and cosmetics. Currently, traffic is about one-third that of normal, and there are no Europeans or Americans coming through the stores as there usually are, but instead travelers are coming from neighbouring countries like Palestine and Saudi Arabia.

Faring well

As a new direction, JDFS has a plan in place for offering domestic duty paid, and is completing a study to prepare for this offering. The operator does not offer online service yet, as regulations are prohibitive, though individuals can use a delivery company. “We fared ok through a very hard time,” Al Majali says. “But we will go back.” Of particular concern was large inventory throughout stores and in the warehouse, especially when it came to items with a shelf life. The retailer got through helped by the support of suppliers, which he says was in large part due to strong relationships. “Suppliers showed a lot of support, though they were also suffering,” he says. Luckily, JDFS’ business model does not call for MAGs; the government is the company’s landlord, and they simply take a percentage of sales.

Mr. Haitham Al Majali, CEO of Jordanian Duty Free Shops, is prepared for a return to normality in a mere six months to a year, with lockdowns ended and life returning back to normal



ordanian Duty Free Shops’ (JDFS) CEO Mr. Haitham Al Majali believes that having gone through the pandemic will change people in the industry, and not in a bad way. “We will accept bad times and be ready to cope with any emergency. We will understand the need to be optimistic but also ready for any circumstance,” he says, and this cannot help but help place the industry in a positive space for the future.

Moving forward

And he is optimistic for the coming year. After lockdowns that lasted intermittently from March until the end of of 2020, Al Majali believes that truly positive results will begin in 2022, with results reaching those of 2019 within six months to a year. “Things are moving forward and life is going back to normal. The threat is still there, but I don’t think there will be more lockdowns,” he says.

Commercial center

In addition to the expected improvements in business due to increased traffic and the end of lockdowns, JDFS will operate in a large commercial center opening in Aqaba in Q1. Building is in final stages. “Aqaba is a special zone positioned strategically on the Red Sea between Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the West Bank,” says Al Majali. “This commercial center will attract investors and others, with offerings including banks, health clinics, shopping and restaurants.” In conclusion, Al Majali says he is very much looking forward to meeting up with colleagues at MEADFA in Dubai. “In Dubai people very welcoming. It’s a beautiful city, the center of the Emirates, with a lot to offer to visitors,” he says. GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL MAGAZINE


MEADFA President: Sherif Toulan

Stronger together by WENDY MORLEY

In one of duty free and travel retail’s most dynamic regions, the MEAFDA Conference is the industry’s annual forum for debate and exchange. Over two days, stakeholders and key players in the Middle East and Africa come together to assess the present, plan the future and network

A region of many hubs, the Middle East is faring especially well in the recovery of international travel; this sets the stage for cautious optimism as MEADFA makes it a mandate to prepare ahead of time for challenges, reimaging and reinventing the way business is done

MEADFA President Sherif Toulan offers an inspiring message of what our industry can achieve by working together and learning from one another


s a MEADFA Board member since 2009, Sherif Toulan’s time as President since early 2021 has not been the smoothest and most trouble free. Though all signs are clearly pointing to recovery and the region is seeing a “promising” growth of traffic, he says: “All operators together with landlords and brand owners have their work cut out for them. Most of us deep down know that this will come again. Every three to four years we face challenges in some form or another.” And this is why he is calling on the industry to “reimagine and reinvent the way we do business, to offset any effects that come from the challenges we are expecting.”

We’re in this together

Toulan expresses his belief that support and flexibility are the key drivers to making sure the industry is on the path of recovery. And top of his list on the support side is engagement with other associations and organizations. If one word were to describe Toulan’s attitude toward business in this industry in current times it might be “alliance.” Under Toulan’s leadership, MEADFA has now joined ACI Africa and the COMESA business council. On behalf of the association he is also taking part in monthly meetings with the Duty Free World Council (DFWC). He is joining with all of these organizations because he feels strongly that the industry will grow stronger as a whole when all stakeholders help teach and support each other.

Three objectives

Toulan sees MEADFA as having three clear objectives currently. The first objective is specific to this time, and that is to reignite 22 GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2021

MEADFA President: Sherif Toulan

The Jumeriah Creekside Hotel in Dubai is once again the location for this year’s MEADFA Conference

“I'm happy to say the conference next month is the conference that has the most participation in panel discussions and end presentations from African members,” he says. “This conference promises to be the most representative when it comes to African countries.”

Associations helping each other

the industry’s business in the region to emerge successfully from crisis. This objective includes planning for future challenges on a crisis scale, part of which is developing a new business model. The second objective is to learn from others, and advocate in advance. The World Health Organization is attempting to regulate sales of tobacco, liquor and confectionery worldwide, including in duty free. “Our role is to anticipate, working closely with IATA, members and consultants to try to make plans, inform and act as a safeguard. The earlier you know, the better chance to direct the course of action rather than reacting. There will be more challenges; let our association learn from other associations,” he says. The third objective is to make inroads into Africa. While the association represents the Middle East and Africa, until now the vast majority of attention has been paid to the Middle East. Toulan would like to make sure this changes, especially now as Africa is on the precipice of a major boom. He and MEADFA together made it a goal to inspire more Africans to come to the MEADFA conference and they have succeeded, with greater numbers attending from the continent, including Sub-Sahara, than ever before. Toulan has been traveling a great deal in Africa, and the association was instrumental in helping operators in Nigeria and Sierra Leone to combat a potentially major problem that was being written up in law by changing the wording. “We have pledged to make inroads in Africa,” he says. “We’ve partnered with ACI Africa and joined the COMESA Business Council. We’ve developed a vigorous plan, and I’ve been traveling throughout the continent including Zambia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya and more.”

African members

The main theme of the conference is reigniting business in the entire region, including both the Middle East and Africa. Toulan says many topics throughout the conference will focus on how to better draw lessons from what happened, share best practises and try as much as possible to find a way forward, and that very much includes Africa. 24 GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2021

Since March, members of the DFWC have been meeting monthly. “We work together, learning the challenges the other associations are seeing in their regions. When we learn from others, we can pre-empt. We work closely with IATA, members and consultants to try to make plans, inform and prepare.” He says these meetings have proved invaluable, with all benefitting globally in the effort to safeguard the industry. “Challenges and crises bring us together,” he says. DFWC also holds weekly webinars where peers can learn from one another. “Working together, sharing the same concerns and unifying our efforts — this is what will bring us through the current crisis and those that we are anticipating in the future,” he says. “Opportunities always arise from challenges.” While Toulan is working together with other associations around the world, he’s also helping MEADFA members work together. Earlier this year, the association brought into existence a new Membership Committee with the goal of improving and developing association activities, headed by Chairperson Roger Jackson. Toulan expresses his admiration for the work Jackson has been doing, and says the creation of this committee was important to the development of recovery and other business strategies.

The MEADFA conference

In Cannes, TFWA Managing Director John Rimmer and Toulan both stated how pleased they’ve been with the response of the industry to a live event in MEADFA this year. Because of restrictions, numbers have been limited, and Rimmer stated that at that time the event was very nearly sold out; they were trying to figure out a way to accommodate more people. “Those unable to attend in person will be able to access the conference by add paid lifestream service on TFWA 365, although I would like to welcome all of you in person,” said Toulan at the press conference. “I would like to extend my special thanks to our official host Dubai Duty Free, our Diamond partners Dufry, Imperial Brands, Swedish Match and Fire and Ice Beverages, and finally our Platinum and Gold partners Beam Suntory, JTI, Pernod Travel Retail, B&S and Mazaya.” Rimmer and Toulan both expressed their hopes that during these extraordinary times the conference would ignite the industry, bringing all one step closer to normality, together.


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Elayyan is positive that PAX flow in the greater Middle East region will continue to be on the rise. "Dubai is already receiving an influx of tourists flying to witness the highly anticipated EXPO which started in October and will continue till end of March. Saudi Arabia is heavily marketing their vision 2030 with plans to position the kingdom as an international tourism and business hub, and Qatar succeeded in positioning Doha as a key transit point in international air travel,” she says

With unwavering dynamism, Mazaya created multiple reasons for consumers to buy in duty free during the pandemic, including gifts with purchase, multiple-purchase specials and other aggressive promotions. Global Travel Retail Manager Rawan Elayyan says the company remained true to themselves as a premium shisha molasses brand, supported retailers and operators and delighting consumers by WENDY MORLEY


Mazaya’s portfolio comprises over 150 flavours to suit the diverse consumer preferences around the world, from standard flavours such as Lemon with Mint and Two Apples to innovative blends such as Blueberry Exotica, Watermelon with Mint and Candy Drops, all made with premium French tobacco and high quality ingredients


n recent months, we’ve begun to see a slow, but not steady, reopening happening around the world. Mazaya has seen a surge in PAX flow and hence duty free sales as of the middle of Q3 in the Middle East — which is the main market for the shisha brand. “With the roll-out of the vaccine worldwide and the gradual lifting of restrictions, there is a positive sentiment around the world and people are getting ready to fly again, something we hope to continue seeing in Q4,” says Global Travel Retail Manager Rawan Elayyan. In travel retail the company continues to recover its losses incurred in 2020 – 2021. “We are very proud to say that our recovery plans worked better than expected,” says Elayyan. “Currently, we are back to pre-pandemic sales levels. This was accelerated by a very dynamic approach to what was happening around us; our team succeeded in adapting quickly to changes in the travel retail channel through re-purposing marketing budgets to fund attractive multi-purchase, price-offs and GWP promotions, and we have stood by our retailers and end users.” Mazaya’s recovery plans were compelling; Elayyan says the company adapted quickly. “Especially in the markets that were most affected by the pandemic, we supported our retailers and operators with aggressive plans. We reshuffled our budgets and

At TFWA WE, Elayyan’s focus was to gain more insight and perspective from buyers and operators and understand the changes they are anticipating in their markets in order to be better prepared for the future, especially as she believes the PAX flow for the remaining of the year and throughout 2022 looks very promising Face-to-face events are very important for travel retail, and one key observation Elayyan had the past year is that no matter how elaborate virtual meetings and events are, nothing can replace the human element and the enthusiasm in the physical events

explore the recent trends and untapped opportunities in our business. We cannot stress enough the importance of the human element to Mazaya. TFWA World Exhibition certainly provided feelings of normality and encouraged people in our industry to resume physical business meetings and events as usual. Nothing can replace the enthusiasm we get from meeting people faceto-face. It was indeed very hopeful to see the TR community coming together in Cannes, and to meet with our retailers and operators after more than 18 months of meeting virtually.

Returning HORECA channel

Shisha is a trend growing globally, and although the HORECA channel was badly affected during the pandemic, Elayyan says users shifting to in-home consumption helped stabilized sales in the domestic market. While duty free sales fell off, Elayyan observed that consumers were stocking up, while benefiting from the tax exempted prices and the multi-purchase and price-off promotions Mazaya was running. “Smoking in restaurants and shisha bars has already recovered wherever restrictions were eased up, and it will continue to be on the rise,” says Elayyan. “We are very positive that people are eager to go back and socialize, and with the vaccination roll-out all over the world and the gradual lifting of restrictions they will do so as soon as they are able. With the growing popularity of shisha, especially among the younger generation, we believe that the shisha molasses category will keep its upward trend.”

In touch with the consumer

repurposed our marketing and sales funds to meet the purchasing power of travelers, who have become more price sensitive.” Mazaya customers benefitted from attractive multi-purchase and price-off promotions; this proved to be very effective as shisha smokers tend to stock up, especially when they’re expecting another lockdown. “In addition to the promotional action plan, we remained true to ourselves as a premium shisha molasses brand and delighted our customers with our signature glass shisha in selected locations,” says Elayyan. “This helped in introducing new shoppers to shisha molasses and contributed to growing the tobacco category overall, which was very much appreciated by operators in those challenging times.”

MEADFA key travel retail event

The greater Middle East is the strongest market for Mazaya; therefore it is very important for us for be present at MEADFA and show support for the TR Industry in our region. Mazaya has always been a key partner of the event, and we are proud to be a gold sponsor this year. We invite all attendees to enjoy our shisha service during lunch and explore our exceptional flavours. MEADFA brings value to our brand as a good platform to meet and network with the different players in the TR channel in our region, and to attend lectures by key industry experts to

Elayyan says the key strength that allowed Mazaya to succeed through this time is the unmatchable shisha smoking experience. “Our unique molasses are made from single-origin French tobacco leaves, thoroughly cleaned and cut according to Mazaya specifications. The French tobacco leaves then enter a fully automated process where they are blended with pure glycerine, natural honey and food-grade flavours that guarantee a longlasting shisha smoking experience.” Mazaya also keeps a close eye on changes in consumer behavior around the world in a bid to understand the unique nuances between smokers. “While the older generation prefers standard flavours, the millennial smoker is always on the hunt for innovative and bold flavours, and with a strong portfolio and distribution networks in over 30 duty free stores and 50 countries, Mazaya is true to its identity as a premium shisha molasses brand,” says Elayyan. For the future, Elayyan says being true to brand identity and keeping the close collaboration and ongoing partnership with the duty free operators, while optimizing and fine-tuning its business strategy to accommodate in the changes in each market will keep Mazaya moving forward. “We are very positive that PAX flow in the greater Middle-East region will continue to be on the rise. Dubai is gearing up to receive an influx of tourists flying to witness the highly anticipated EXPO which will take place from October to March. Saudi Arabia is heavily marketing their vision 2030 with plans to position the kingdom as an international tourism and business hub, and Qatar succeeded in positioning Doha as a key transit point in international air travel. Add the desire of people to travel and explore after almost two years of waiting, all these changes give us hope that the future of travel retail is bright.” GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL MAGAZINE


In Memoriam: Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco Sr

A life well lived Rising from humble beginnings, Amb. Bienvenido Tantoco Sr founded a Philippine luxury empire with his wife Glecy out of their home. A visit to Morocco soon resulted in the extension of his business empire in that country, in partnership with the Kingdom of Morocco. Amb. Tantoco passed earlier this year at 100 years old, leaving behind a legacy that included not only successful businesses but also loving bonds with family and friends

Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco Sr passed away in July of 2021, leaving a legacy far larger than his early life would have suggested


Points of connection


o those of us in travel retail, Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. was the Chairman of International Duty Free Shops (IDFS). To those in the Philippines, he was a respected businessman, father of Philippine luxury retail, and former ambassador to the Vatican — an incredibly honoured and honourable position. To his family, he was a man who left behind a legacy that was much more than business — he left a legacy of fun, laughter, and strong, loving family bonds. Amb. Tantoco passed away at the age of 100 on July 6 of this year after a life well lived.


In the mid 1980’s, Amb. Tantoco & his wife, the late Gliceria “Glecy” Tantoco visited Morocco and immediately fell in love with the country, its fascinating culture and most especially its people. With their entrepreneurial spirit and the 28 GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2021

Bienvenido Tantoco Sr and his wife Glecy began their empire from modest beginnings out of their home. They fell in love with Morocco on a trip in the mid80s, and this inspired what would eventually become 23 duty free stores operating in the Kingdom

great potential they saw in the Kingdom’s tourism industry, they turned this warm connection into something concrete – introducing duty free shopping in Morocco through International Duty Free Shops in partnership with the Kingdom. On November 21 1989, the very first 100-square-meter IDFS store opened in Casablanca Airport, transforming a dimly lit corner into an elegant shop. Two months later, in January 1990, they opened a small shop in Marrakech, followed by another in Agadir in May and then one in Tangier in July. Early success gave way to a “hopeless situation” as airports were empty for six months beginning with the outbreak of the Gulf war in 1992. Tantoco managed to bring his company victoriously through this and other challenging times such as the Casablanca terrorist bombings of 2003 and the entry of competition in the market in 2005, creating a legacy in Morocco much as he had in the Philippines.

The Tantocos believed that airports held special importance as the first and last points of connection within a country. This is why it was important for them to invest in the growth of its airports, building beautiful shops to showcase the same beauty that they saw in the Kingdom on that fateful visit in the 1980s. Morocco became their second home, while IDFS employees became their family. Their love for the King and commitment to his people encouraged them to continually invest in the growth of tourism for the livelihood of the IDFS Team. From a small shop in Casablanca Airport over 30 years ago with a handful of employees, IDFS has now grown and thrived into 23 stores across 11 international airports, plus a diplomatic shop, offering the best service and shopping experience in Morocco’s travel retail. Amb. Tantoco’s legacy in Morocco will always remain through the values and the family he leaves behind in IDFS, as his legacy will remain through his beloved children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His memory looms larger than life for the people in his life, who remember him as a man who lived his life according to his strong ethics, with a sense of humour and an infectious laugh, always making those around him feel valued. Current President of IDFS, Christopher Tantoco, says his grandfather left him the legacy of strong values, integrity, hard work, dedication, commitment and offering the best service — service to all people, including employees, customers and business partners.

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Iraq Duty Free


Iraq Duty Free is breaking new ground literally and figuratively as the first downtown duty free shop is being created in Baghdad

While most operators in travel retail had only tales of woe from 2020 and 2021, Fouad Jabbour, General Manager of Iraq Duty Free, was surprisingly happy with sales, stating that they were considerably higher than expected



n 2021, Iraq Duty Free has had a surprisingly good year. After a difficult 2020 facing the pandemic that affected the travel retail industry all over the world, Iraq Duty Free managed to keep all staff on the payroll, cutting down on expenses in order to assist and protect the team during the challenging times. Given that situation in Iraq and around the world in 2020 and into 2021, the operator had projected sales of around 65% those of 2019, but by the of the end of Q3 2021 all indications showed that sales will instead be approximately 80% of 2019’s by the close of the year — significantly better than expected. Fouad Jabbour, General Manager of Iraq Duty Free, says the higher-thanexpected sales were in part thanks to the addition of air routes, with a number of airlines increasing flights over 2020. But additionally, stock availability was robust in all categories, and Jabbour says travelers were simply willing to spend money in the duty free shops.


Renovations and openings

The year 2019 closed with the completion of phase three of the renovation plans in all Iraq Duty Free shops at the Baghdad Airport. These include shops in both arrivals and departures in Baghdad International Airport in the Iraqi Airlines Terminal, and the arrivals shop in the International Airlines Terminal. Phase four of the renovations of the departures shop in Baghdad International Airport has been held off until Q1 of 2022, when it will be completed. In addition to these substantial renovations listed above, in 2021 Iraq Duty Free worked on the opening of a brand-new arrivals shop in Basra International Airport. In February 2021 the newly built arrivals shop, with 84 square meters of floor space, began granting the travelers a new shopping experience on their arrival to the city. “The closure of the old shop and creation of the newly opened one could not have been achieved without the support of the official government figures of Iraqi

For Iraq Duty Free Chairman & Owner Mr. Ahmed Kamal, 2021 has turned out to be much better than expected, thanks to stronger air travel and travelers willing to spend in the airport shops

Civil Aviation, Basra Airport management and personnel, along with the dedication of the Iraq Duty Free management and staff members,” says Jabbour. “Together we achieved the goal of bringing a modern look and a world class design in line with other duty free shops we currently operate in the other airports.”

Moving downtown

Iraq Duty Free is branching into new territory, soon opening the first downtown duty free store in Iraq. “Iraq Duty Free has signed a contract to operate a dedicated new space as a downtown duty free shop,” says Jabbour. “This shop is projected to be operational in the first quarter of 2022, with a 10-year contract. This will be the first and only downtown duty free operation in Iraq, and also for us.”

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This first 500-square-meter shop will be part of the General Company for Central Markets in Baghdad, facilitating additional duty free purchases for visitors to Baghdad. “Our section of the shop will be strictly duty free with no duty paid. Clientele will be travelers to Iraq from any international destination. The holder of a passport and a boarding pass has the right to purchase for 15 days from the date of entry,” says Jabbour. Jabbour says his team will also be looking at other cities in the country where they feel a downtown duty free shop would work for the region, the area and for their business.

New airport

Kirkuk, the city of the oil reserves of Iraq, is the site of two new shops soon being opened by Iraq Duty Free. Major international companies work in the area and its surroundings. Jabbour states that the duty free shops will be the perfect addition to all concerned, including Iraq Duty Free as operator, along with the Airport , Civil Aviation and, of course, travelers. At Kirkuk International Airport, Iraq Duty Free will be opening two brand new shops in November 2021. In departures

The team of Iraq Duty Free achieved the goal of bringing a modern look and a world class design to the new arrivals shop in Basra

the space will be 140 square meters, and 110 square meters in arrivals. “This opening will strengthen our presence in Iraq with the support of management, team and government officials, all of whom trust the company and its vision for Iraqi airports, granting us an extension of our contract with Civil Aviation until 2037,” says Jabbour. “At Kirkuk International Airport, with all the studies and anticipation, we will bring excellent added value to the region, travel and passengers in the city of Kirkuk and its surrounding area.”

Liquor and Tobacco are among the five most popular categories for Iraq Duty Free — Perfume and Confectionery top the list


Top categories

The top categories for Iraq Duty Free are Perfume, Confectionery, Liquor, Tobacco and Cosmetics, in that order. These five categories represent 85% of the operator’s sales. Currently, Jabbour and his team are in discussion with various houses from the top 5 categories to add them to our brand portfolio. These agreements will be announced soon. Though the usual activations may have been restricted to varying degrees, Iraq Duty Free has supported all fragrances brands throughout 2021 with podiums, free of charge, with any launches that took place from brands carried by the retailer.



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Levi at Moroccanoil notes that travel sets will become a key part of the Moroccanoil strategy, complementary to the routine and multi-scent aspects of day-to-day hair and body care


Although the brand successfully launched its Body range several years ago, Moroccanoil will continue to revamp and expand this range into 2022


ith the release of Brumes du Maroc Hair & Body Fragrance Mist by Moroccanoil in 2021, the iconic beauty brand has expanded into the fragrance category. Featuring a lightweight formula and the signature Moroccanoil scent that is loved by men and women alike, Brumes du Maroc offers a “sensorial journey.” Initially launched in North America, the product will become available in Europe this fall. Providing a full head-to-toe experience, Sebastien Levi, Vice President of Global Travel Retail, Moroccanoil, says Brumes du Maroc perfectly encapsulates the essence of the beauty brand. Although the brand successfully launched its Body range several years ago, Moroccanoil will continue to focus on product diversification and revamp and expand this range into 2022. Along with introducing five new scents inspired by the Mediterranean, the company will add products such as Hand Wash and Body Lotion to its existing portfolio. Although this range will be re-launched in all channels, when it comes to travel retail, Moroccanoil will offer channel-specific sets and specialty 36 GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2021

releases and rely on strategic merchandising to help consumers get to know its product assortment. Concentrating on product development and innovation throughout the past 18 months, Levi notes that these efforts will be visible in 2022 — and beyond. “Complementary to the routine and multi-scent aspects of day-to-day hair and body care, travel sets will become a key part of Moroccanoil’s strategy. As for travel sizes, the 30-ml Brumes du Maroc Hair & Body Fragrance Mist and 40-ml hand cream products play to both the convenience and the affordability to purchase,” he says.

Travel sets & sizes

When asked how shifting consumer practices and behaviors of the post-COVID traveler will impact the Moroccanoil brand portfolio and value chain in travel retail, Levi adds that it’s too early to form a clear picture of the post-COVID travel world. However, the GTR team believes that the shared increase in practicing self-care and wellness throughout the pandemic has led to greater conversion and spend on skin, beauty and hygiene products. Additionally, the re-launch of

Featuring a lightweight formula and the brand’s signature scent, Brumes du Maroc offers a “sensorial journey”

its Body line allows the brand to participate in the sustainability movement taking place in travel retail. Moroccanoil will take this opportunity to explore more sustainable ingredients, packaging techniques and waste management methods. With the return of travel in sight, Moroccanoil will use value proposition, brand exposure and a multi-channel model to drive engagement and sales in travel retail. Levi says a combination of brand offer, brand exposure and powerful marketing in local markets will generate awareness, establish consumer interest and support the expansion. “There is an opportunity to display travel sets and sizes not only in main stores, but also at gate shops in order to improve business. Moroccanoil’s focus on sets and sizes will play a key role in its success and the excitement of the development could not come at a better time. “We also believe that Click and Collect will grow significantly in the future and our digital expertise – developed with big players such as Amazon and Sephora – puts us in an ideal position to capitalize on this trend in travel retail,” explains Levi.

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A deep dive on beauty-tech & daily viewership

The Phase II opening of Haikou Global Premium Duty Free Plaza at Mova Mall in Haikou represented a milestone for the sister brands

Opening a collection of new counters and placements, FOREO and FAQTM significantly expanded in 2021 to meet the growing demand of the Chinese consumer by LAURA SHIRK


ince the start of COVID-19, FOREO has launched its sister brand FAQTM and leaned into the rise of home beauty and digital adoption. The leading beauty-tech brand re-iterates that consumers have been actively seeking ways to practice self-care and wellness in order to resemble a state of normalcy. This is only the beginning of the e-commerce boom, the GTR team

predicts that it will continue to grow exponentially over the next serval years. According to FOREO, with an annual compounded growth rate of 4.75% worldwide, the global beauty industry is expected to increase from $483B (USD) in 2020 to $511B (USD). With this in mind, FOREO and FAQTM regularly launch a number of products to cater to different skin types. Most recently, FAQTM released its FAQTM 101 Range, which features tailored technology and a combination of Power-RF, EMS-Pro and LED-Pulse tech to boost collagen production, define facial features and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

Livestreaming in action & delivering the brand message

Opening a collection of new counters and placements, FOREO and FAQTM have significantly expanded in 2021 to meet the growing demand of the Chinese consumer. Gary Leong, Global Travel Retail Director, FOREO, reveals that the Phase II opening of Haikou Global Premium Duty Free (GDF) Plaza at Mova Mall in Haikou represented a milestone for the 38 GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2021

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Open around the clock, each brand is home to a livestream studio located at its Asia Pacific HQ in Shanghai, China, and broadcasts daily to its flagship store via Tmall FOREO and FAQTM presented a twoday livestream via GDF’s WeChat Mini Program and Yi Zhi Bo App

sister brands. During the last week of August, the GTR team presented a twoday livestream via GDF’s WeChat Mini Program and Yi Zhi Bo App. As part of the online campaign, customers had the chance to directly purchase select hero products via the retailer’s WeChat Mini Program. “The main challenge was that both FOREO and FAQTM products were scheduled to be featured on the livestream on opening day. Our team needed to align internally to successfully explain the functions, benefits and correct usage of each product to the livestream broadcasters in a short time frame and ensure that the hosts could accurately deliver the brand message to viewers,” comments Leong. Describing the role of livestream broadcaster as an extension of brand ambassador, Leong says the new position is specifically tasked with channeling accurate information in an engaging way to convert “pitches” into sales and effectively answering wide-ranging questions. Open around the clock, each brand is home to a livestream studio located at its Asia Pacific HQ in Shanghai, China, and broadcasts daily to its flagship store via Tmall. This innovative content marketing approach supports the idea that brand education is a key component of purchase. 40 GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2021

Depending on a number of different factors such as the time of day, the day of the week and the presence of social media influencers or international supermodels, daily viewership spans 10K – 100K users. Across regions, languages and demographics, it’s believed that accessing a platform or tuning into a livestream is more valuable than searching for information about a brand.

Aggressive expansion

Along with conducting livestreams in collaboration with Sunrise Duty Free members’ app, the company is expanding its digital presence via a list of platforms and partnerships. Most notably, FOREO and FAQTM launched on CDF Macau e-shop and FOREO unveiled a campaign with, Shinsegae’s online shopping platform, and FAQTM partnered with Singapore’s premiere travel retail operator, KrisShop – all of which will generate awareness and boost confidence in the region. Additionally, FOREO has implemented online shopping with most of its retailers to further its expansion in the online domain. “We are committed to spreading the value of FOREO by ensuring that we are available in as many locations as possible, and to as many people. We are focused on expanding business in Hainan, which presented a great opportunity in 2020 and amended our planning to reflect the significance of the island. With

more shopping centers and duty free partners increasing their onthe-ground presence in Hainan, we will continue developing our presence in the resort province into 2025. “FOREO and FAQTM are planning to open 29 new offline counters in Hainan by end of year, bringing the total to 20. We will continue to work closely with prestige duty free partners such as GDF Plaza, China Duty Free Group and Hainan Tourism Duty Free Complex & CNSC to explore more opportunities,” explains Leong. Since the duty free channel in Hainan targets travelers from mainland China and absorbs the demand of the Chinese consumer, the GTR team has implemented a communication channel and operation strategy to support its aggressive expansion. Earlier this year, FAQTM conducted a pre-launch campaign at Hainan Tourism Duty Free Complex. During this one-month trial, the brand offered customers a hands-on experience. Following the execution of its dynamic and 360-degree approach, the brand found that offering exclusive trial experiences and services leads to the best return – not only in sales, but also immediate feedback.

Planned vs. impulse purchasing

Returning to the peak of the pandemic at the close of our discussion, Leong says with the increase of online engagement, COVID has directly impacted the brand recognition process. This shift opened the potential for FOREO and FAQTM to further educate consumers about the brands. “The past 18 months of social limitation has increased the digital experience and prepared the consumer to become more knowledgeable about their expectations and needs, while browsing at an airport duty free store. As a result, this will continue to lead to a balance of planned and impulse purchasing among consumers who have been meaning to try a specific product or wanting to discover a new product that appeals to their needs,” concludes Leong.


When they go big, you go small


perating primarily within the wine and spirits industry, Nordic Beverage Company (Nobeco) aims to act as a modern company that responds to current trends and promotes the balance of indulging in an alcoholic beverage and living a healthy, active lifestyle. This concept is reflected in its brand portfolio and company culture. According to the Nobeco team, its members strive to meet the evolving demands and expectations of its consumer base and thrive in a creative environment. Presently, Nobeco is working on a consultancy basis, supporting the growth of smaller brands that are in the process of entering the Swedish market. Alexandra Rasmusson Rankloo, Head of Sales & Marketing, Nobeco, explains that this means as well as marketing and promotion, the company supplies logistics and distributional services. Realizing that smaller, lesser-known brands available at Systembolaget, governmentowned wine and spirits retailer in Sweden, don’t receive the same kind of public attention as recognized brands, Nobeco generates awareness and consumer interest, while granting them full control of their own brands. “Nobeco offers smaller brands logistics and distribution services, meaning they don’t have to compete with brands in the same categories, which is often the case in the portfolio of a larger importer. “The model is simple; the goal is to allow our partners to breakeven within a couple of months. Although there should be some indication of spend, we don’t set

Nobeco breaks the mould & brings attention to lesserknown brands by LAURA SHIRK

Available at Scandlines BorderShops on the border of Denmark and Germany, Nordic Beverage Company’s own brands, Polka the Pig, Lucyfer and Nomie, are especially supported via in-house social media and e-mail marketing

a fixed budget at the start of the year in order to provide our partners with the opportunity to halt production in case sales don’t measure up to investment. In our experience, this has proved to be a successful way to conduct business,” comments Rasmusson Rankloo.

Hero products & specialty releases

Additionally, Nobeco continues to distribute its own brands, Polka the Pig, Lucyfer and Nomie, in the Swedish domestic market and travel retail channel. Available at Scandlines BorderShops on the border of Denmark and Germany, these names are especially supported by Nobeco via inhouse social media and e-mail marketing. The company evaluates the performance of all SKUs in its portfolio on a regular basis and applies any relevant lessons to other categories accordingly. Coming up, Nobeco will offer its portfolio to key tenders in the Nordic duty free and travel retail business, alongside its existing agency collaborations. With the intention to offer a product line in each category at some point in the future, the

company is broadening its portfolio, while trying not to oversaturate the market. “Our products are developed with both the domestic market and duty free and travel retail channel in mind. There is consumer demand not only within travel retail, but also in Europe, as well as other parts of the world. This is confirmation that we must be doing something right. “We will continue to develop products to suit a number of different markets and perhaps create limited launches – if we can identify specialized demand. Hero products and specialty releases that are perceived to be local have piqued interest, not only in the Swedish domestic market, but also within export and duty free,” says Rasmusson Rankloo. With the return of travel, Rasmusson Rankloo believes that category spend will increase and consumer behavior will consist of a combination of planned and impulse purchasing. She notes that many consumers will plan to bring home repeat products and/or purchases and select new products and/or travel retail exclusives on impulse. GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL MAGAZINE


Zamora Company


Supporting the consumer trend of vegan products, Licor 43 Horchata vegan “cream” liqueur launched in 2020

As ZCO anticipates a return to 2019 figures, the company will continue to invest in the business and prioritize its commitment to sustainable brands



ooking toward a post-pandemic future, Zamora Company (ZCO) is focused on supporting innovation, recovering sales and prioritizing its commitment to sustainable brands. Presently, within the travel retail channel, ZCO is strongly represented in Spain by its premium liqueur range Licor 43 and its wine portfolio – and in Italy by its Villa Massa Limoncello. When discussing the company’s position and presence in the channel, Alicia Jiménez Franco, Travel Retail & Duty Free Manager, Zamora Company, says Licor 43 demonstrates great potential in Mexico and Brazil, accompanied by excellent results in their respective markets. Additionally, its Ramón Bilbao The Journey Collection is gaining global distribution due to the company’s partnership with Dufry – and the global travel retailer’s commitment to its wine collection. As Zamora anticipates a full recovery and return to 2019 figures, the company will continue to invest in the business. “We expect recovery to take place by 2023 and we will carefully manage our value chain and investment portfolio in this channel. At the same time, we continue to be directly impacted by the global supply chain disruption and the generalized 42 GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2021

inflationary trend driven by raw material increase,” explains Jiménez Franco.

Changing identity

Recognizing that many duty free retailers are spending a lot of time, energy and resources re-inventing their identity and diversifying their service(s), Jiménez Franco points out that in select cases this might serve as a detriment in the coming years. When it comes to offering additional comforts – beyond the standard R&C concept – and embracing the momentum of e-commerce business, she states this could be difficult for suppliers, who will have to “grapple internally” to also re-invent themselves.

conciliation, diversity & inclusion and conscious mindset. In line with its diversity and inclusion policy, Zamora has also implemented a teleworking agreement to promote work-life balance. Following the peak of the pandemic, ZCO developed and distributed an employee survey in order to gain feedback and establish an official program. Jiménez Franco notes that the best way for Zamora to promote work-life balance is through the treatment of its team.

Employee care & work-life balance

As part of its diverse Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, ZCO has highlighted employee care and empowerment. Zamora’s Conscious Company sustainable business model consists of three core areas; one of which is known as Empowered Employees. Those involved in this area work on key projects with annual KPIs that focus on attracting, growing and retaining ZCO’s top talent via four programs: professional development, occupational health & safety,

As opposed to generating competition with the TR channel, Jiménez Franco at Zamora Company says at-home consumption should act as an incentive


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