Act now to salvage sales

27 August, 2008
Page 22 
The 23rd Tax Free World Association World Exhibition held from October 22-26 in Cannes celebrated 60 years of duty-free retailing. The business developed in Shannon, Ireland, around a fuel stop for the early transatlantic flights, and in 2006 was worth some US$29 billion globally, up 7.4 per cent on 2005.

However, with the current security issues over the carriage of liquids, aerosols and gels, sales of liquor in particular are suffering. This is despite new legislation that allows such purchases in sealed bags to come into Europe from authorised countries. The problem lies in the fact that too few countries have applied for airport security recognition and until they do, passengers transferring in the EU will continue to have their purchases confiscated.

To date, only five countries in the International Civil Aviation Organisation - Singapore, Australia, Argentina, Croatia and Dubai - have applied. And these, we understand, will be authorised within the next few weeks. As European Travel Retail Consortium president Frank O'Connell explained at a workshop in Cannes, it is essential that others apply immediately while the European Commission is receptive to applications. It is important to all of us. He and the presidents of the regional duty-free and travel retail associations in the Americas, Middle East and Asia, are calling on individual operators and suppliers to make the most of this opportunity to work with their governments and to urge them to apply to the European Commission for mutual recognition of their security procedures in regard to LAGS (see page 18).

Frank O'Connell, who has worked tirelessly to resolve these issues on behalf of the whole travel retail industry, was unanimously voted the worthy winner of the Drinks International Travel Retail Hero award. Fourteen certificates in six award categories - from product launches to marketing campaigns - were handed out at the exhibition , except the Best Product Launch at TFWA 2007. This, and a full list of all the winners , will be announced in our December issue.