Dubai Duty Free COO to address MEADFA conference

Dubai Duty Free chief operating officer Ramesh Cidambi heads the line-up of speakers at the 2018 MEADFA conference, which is taking place in Dubai later this month.

Organisers the TFWA (Tax Free World Association) say he will share his views on how the industry can thrive and still position itself as an indispensable component in every traveller’s journey. As part of a strong element on the travel and tourism outlook in Africa.

The association says the MEADFA* conference will also hear from the former CEO of SA Express Airways and aviation consultant Inati Ntshanga, who will offer his perspective on the steps the travel industry needs to take to realise the continent’s undoubted potential.

Broadcaster, branding and African business expert Victor Kgomoeswana will explore the current climate for brands and retailers in Africa amid the rapid growth of the continent’s middle class.

In a session focusing on new airport developments in the Middle East, Oman Airports’ general manager commercial operations Samer Ahmed Al Nabhani will talk about the company’s plans for the new airport hub in Muscat. Counter Intelligence Retail Research director Stephen Hillam will follow this with a look at today’s travelling consumer in the Middle East and will present the findings of a new study for MEADFA.

The TFWA says in the light of the fragile oil and energy sector in the Middle East, amid other challenges to regional economies, one of Dubai’s leading business experts, Richard Dean, presenter of daily radio show Business Breakfast on Dubai Eye, will offer his perspective on the region’s current state of flux and suggest how this will affect regional commerce in the mid- to long-term. ‘The MEADFA Challenge’, designed to showcase initiatives that will help engage the regional traveller in new ways.

Tuesday’s programme will open with an examination of the business outlook for the Middle East featuring a report for the MEADFA Conference by Emerging Markets Intelligence & Research (EMIR) featuring their senior analysts Gary McFarlane and Samir Sweida-Metwally.

The conference programme will also focus on the Middle Eastern consumer, courtesy of Karl Nader, partner with Strategy& (part of the PwC network) and the co-leader of the firm’s consumer and retail business in the Middle East.

Middle East Airlines’ head of in-flight and catering purchases Mounir Seifeddine, inflight sales group Europe president Karen Durban-Villeval and Inati Ntshanga will explore the outlook of the airline industry in the Middle East and Africa and the role inflight retail can play in ensuring a positive experience for passengers in a session titled ‘The Airline Perspective’.

MEADFA vice president and Aer Rianta International Middle East CEO Nuno Amaral, ETRC president Sarah Branquinho (external affairs director, Dufry) and Dubai Duty Free senior vice president – finance Bernard Creed will discuss the latest on regulatory and other challenges facing the industry in the Middle East and Africa.

The conference will run between January 29 and 30 at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai.

*The Middle East and Africa Duty Free Association is the trade body for retailers operating stores in duty free and travel retail within the region.