Duty paid

Favourite drinks? He likes wine, a great G&T, Drambuie and the Danish cherry liqueur, Peter Heering.

He and his wife are keen supporters of the Lotus Flower Trust which specialises in helping children and women in remote parts of India.

Asked what frustrates him, J-M replies: “The ever-increasing challenges the industry is facing from various sides, such as administrative and legislative attempts to over-control the business, very often by people and bodies who do not understand – or even want to understand – the specifics of our business which, in so many ways, makes it different from the normal high street retail shop.”

He cites a proposal to ban duty free sales of cigarettes in France. Then there are the EU plans to have labels in all member state languages. Imaging the ingredients of your favourite chocolate bar in around 24 languages.

“There is a Chinese cigarette brand – 99% of its sales are to Chinese. Yet the French authorities want the labelling in French,” he says. “These people have no insight into how our industry works.”

There has been criticism concerning getting a stand at Cannes. Juul-Mortensen explains. First, there is a severe lack of space at the Palais des Congrès. Despite regular checks, virtually every exhibitor likes and wants to remain in Cannes. He announces this year there is a new ‘tent’ and Brown-Forman with Jack Daniel’s is first to commit.

He goes on to say there is a waiting list for Cannes of companies that are association members and have fulfilled the criteria, the main one being that the company must have at least one listing somewhere in global travel retail.

“We have companies (applying) that have no exposure in duty free. So we are not a launchpad for them. We also have to strike a balance with product categories. We do not want, say, 70% cosmetics and 2% alcohol.”

J-M and the management committee take a dim view of companies that are not members yet come to Cannes to exploit the fact that most of the world’s global travel retail buyers are in town. He mentions one major drinks company that took over the bar of one of the large hotels to promote its wares with no intention of getting involved with the serious business of the TFWA and its shows.

With his diplomatic skills to the fore, J-M and his team weighed in, had a “quiet word” and that company is now in the TFWA family. A happy ending.

But it obviously irks J-M that companies “wanting a piece of the action”, hire a suite and entertain unbeknowns who should be going to member events.

Asked what would be the Juul-Mortensen epitaph, he suggests: “He was a lucky man – and he knew it!”

Personally, I prefer: “Duty paid.” Maybe just in English and Danish.