Big industry names join MEADFA Conference speaker line-up

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Sean Staunton: “This has been a challenging period for many companies in the Middle East and Africa, and that makes it all the more vital to come together to discuss ways to drive the business forward.”

MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA. The Middle East & Africa Duty Free Association (MEADFA) has announced a strong speaker line-up for its annual conference, to be held in Dubai on 28-29 November. The event is managed by TFWA.

Among the business leaders set to speak are Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin, Lagardère Travel Retail Chairman and CEO Dag Rasmussen and Aer Rianta International CEO Jack MacGowan. They will be joined by senior representatives from leading regional retailers including Tourvest Duty Free, Hamila Duty Free, Flemingo International, IDFTA and IDFS Morocco. The event will be opened by MEADFA President Sean Staunton.

Among other speakers, UN World Tourism Organization Director for the Middle East Amr Abdel Ghaffar will share his views on the development of the region. Richard Dean, one of the Gulf’s most experienced business commentators, will explore the economic and business outlook, and young African entrepreneur Suzie Wokabi will talk about the business climate in the continent.

Delegates will also hear a Middle East perspective on Millennial travellers from Google travel industry analyst Vrinda Singh and Elena Nikolova, the founder of influential website

The Moodie Davitt Report’s Dermot Davitt and TFWA’s John Rimmer will co-moderate the conference.

This year’s venue is the Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre. Located close to Dubai International, the hotel has recently undergone a major renovation, which included a full upgrade of its conference facilities, and the addition of a new residential wing called the Royal Club.

As always at MEADFA, the event will feature a strong social programme and networking opportunities.

These include a welcome cocktail reception sponsored by Dufry at Le Méridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre, and a gala dinner hosted by Dubai Duty Free at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel.

Several companies have confirmed their sponsorships. They include KT International SA; Qatar Duty Free; Aer Rianta International; Diageo; Aphrodite Duty Free Shop, JT International, Furla, Nestlé International Travel Retail, Lagardère Travel Retail and Travalo.

Exhibitors include Philip Morris International Services SARL, Heintz Van Landewyck, Oriental GT Inc, Mars International Travel Retail, Panzerglass and Oriental General Trading.

Sean Staunton said: “After enjoying the famous Jordanian hospitality in 2015, we’re returning to Dubai this year for what I am sure will be an extremely lively and informative conference. We’re honoured that a number of senior industry leaders have accepted our invitation to address our event this year, and we’ll also be hearing from several experts on travel, tourism and consumer trends.

“This has been, and continues to be, a challenging period for many companies in the Middle East and Africa regions, and that makes it all the more vital for the stakeholders in our industry to come together to discuss ways to drive the business forward. As ever, the MEADFA Conference will gather all the region’s major retailers, brands and landlords for two days of debate, exchange and networking, at a fantastic venue.”

TFWA President Erik Juul-Mortensen said: “The Middle East and Africa is one of duty free and travel retail’s most exciting regions and Dubai, as the region’s leading market by sales, is undoubtedly one of the world’s most important duty free locations. We are delighted to be returning to this exciting city in 2016 for what is promising to be an outstanding event.”

Pre-registration, further information and updates on the event can be found at










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