ETW Staff – Mumbai
Qatar Duty Free, the Duty Free operator in the Middle East, has hosted 2013 Middle East and Africa Duty Free Association (MEADFA) Conference, which is being held at the Ritz Carlton on November 25-26. This is the first time that the MEADFA Conference is held in Doha.
The conference centers around four key themes: the role and importance of commercial activities in new airport design and infrastructure; geopolitical and economic challenges across the Middle East and North Africa; understanding consumers in the African continent; and defending the duty free and travel retail industry in the region. The role of retail in new airport infrastructure is a key focus of the conference. As the association embraces Africa officially, the conference has also enabled delegates to learn more about the African consumer, whose importance to global travel retail is set to grow.
During the conference, delegates took in a mix of in-depth presentations and panel discussions and workshops. On November 25, Keith Hunter, senior vice president, Qatar Duty Free delivered a keynote address explaining how the new Hamad International Airport will help realise the fast-growing airline’s ambitions to establish Doha as a global hub. The keynote address also emphasised how the business models of Qatar Airways, Doha International Airport and Qatar Duty Free have been structured in such a way that they are complimentary. The conference attracted over 500 delegates. At the 2012 conference, brand owners and suppliers represented 45 per cent of total delegates, while duty free retailers and travel operators represented 32 per cent of the total. 54 per cent of the audience came from outside the Middle East: this demonstrates that the Duty Free Business in the Middle East has grown steadily, and generates interest from stakeholders worldwide.
Qatar Duty Free was recently named Travel Retailer of The Year at the Duty Free News International (DFNI) Global Awards for Travel-Retail Excellence that took place in London.