CEETRA Forum talks risks and opportunities in Prague

EUROPE. The Central and Eastern European Travel Retail Association (CEETRA) organised the bi-annual Travel Retail Forum in Prague on 27 April, with hosting by Lagardère Travel Retail Czech Republic and Prague Airport.

Themes included the risks and opportunities associated with regulatory change, and details were provided on the biggest airport project in the region (see below).

Opening the conference, CEETRA Chair and Lagardère Duty Free (Polska) CEO Andrzej Milaszewicz said that the association’s role is to “bring together all local ecosystems, not only airports, airlines or operators, but also brands, producers and tourism.”

He emphasised that chambers of tourism will play a more important role in the organisation’s future. He noted: “We all remember the massive uncertainty felt at last year’s event towards 2023. But today we see recovery all around as well as some important changes in consumer behaviour.”

Lagardère Travel Retail Global Head of Digital & Innovation Jimmy Motte talked about the latest consumer trends

Prague Airport Executive Director Commercial František Kachlík said that, despite a difficult regulatory environment, the airport managed the COVID crisis well, working with commercial partners and other businesses throughout to survive the hardest times. Prague Airport, he added, plans further infrastructure developments, including a fast railway to Prague as well as the wider region. Plans for a major airport city were revealed to the audience.

Czech distillery R. Jelinek presented its slivovitz and other liqueurs. Sales and Marketing Director Miroslav Motyčka said that the travel retail channel now represents 10% of the company’s sales and has been a driver for innovation and product development. During the networking evening preceding the event, the heritage of the Jelinek family and their products were introduced to guests.

Local hero: Distillery R. Jelinek offered a showcase of Czech flavour to guests

Presenting a recent survey on regional passenger behaviour, m1nd-set Founder & CEO Peter Mohn reported that 55% of purchases are for self-consumption, followed by gifting and sharing as shopping motivations. More shoppers now plan ahead: 30% know what they want before getting to the airport, and 45% plan to shop but are still undecided on which items to buy.

European Travel Retail Confederation Secretary General Julie Lassaigne emphasised the opportunity presented by the continuing review of the EU VAT Tourism & Travel package by the EU Directorate General TAXUD: “Giving EU airports the right to arrivals duty and tax free shops would be a key measure to support European aviation ecosystem post COVID,” she said. She noted that there would be no negative impact on government tax revenues, as sales would shift from outside the country’s borders to inside them, supporting local jobs and businesses.

Adam Dużyński of Centralny Port Komunikacyjny (CPK) shared details of the exciting CPK Airport planned between Warsaw and Łódź. This is designed to serve 40 million passengers initially, with options to extend to 65 million. Expected to open in 2028, the project has entered the design phase with the consortium Foster + Partners and Buro Happold named as Master Architect for both passenger terminal and railway station.

Lagardère Travel Retail Global Head of Digital & Innovation Jimmy Motte also addressed consumer motivations and trends.

“Nine in ten customers are more likely to choose a retailer based on convenience,” he said. “Today, 41% of travellers are willing to pay more for a product if they can purchase more quickly and conveniently.”

With this in mind, the retailer is investing in concept stores to collect data and experience for the future. Examples include automated payment stores such as Quick N’Easy in Brussels, Travelwell in Hong Kong and Goods Express@CLT at Charlotte Douglas Airport.

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