ASIA PACIFIC. Tax Free World Association (TFWA) has canceled its in-person TFWA Asia Pacific Expo and Conference, which was scheduled to take place in Singapore from May 9-12, and is considering alternative proposals for the format of the event.
The event was to return to the city after a two-year absence.
TFWA’s board and management committee said they made the decision to change the format due to concerns over recent Covid-19-related developments in Singapore and the wider Asia-Pacific region. .
With the reinstatement of stricter health and safety measures in many countries in the region following the advance of the Omicron variant, TFWA said it had become clear that live exposure “would not be able to provide the desired level of benefits and support to the industry”.
Other options are currently being reviewed by the Association to ensure that TFWA can support the industry in the Asia-Pacific region, whatever the situation. Further details will follow next week.
TFWA Chairman Erik Juul-Mortensen said: “It is with great regret that the TFWA Board and Executive Committee have decided that the ongoing Covid-related travel restrictions in many Asian markets prevent us from holding the TFWA Asia-Pacific Expo in Singapore as we did. all hoped and worked. We have done everything we can to keep the event going and have been encouraged by the clear demand for it to take place, but we cannot guarantee that the travel and health situation will improve enough to allow and convince a wide range of (region ) industry to fully participate.
“We know how disappointed our exhibitors and visitors will be, as well as our business partners in Singapore who have worked so hard to create a safe and welcoming environment for events like ours. I would particularly like to pay tribute to the Singapore Tourism Board and other government authorities who are doing so much to open up the country to tourism and business travel. We are sure that these efforts will be rewarded in the future and remain committed to returning to Singapore with a live exhibition in 2023.”
He added, “I would like to thank all of the TFWA members and exhibitors, as well as the duty-free and travel retailers, who have signed up for this year’s event. We thank you for your loyalty and seek your understanding for this difficult decision. Our thanks go out to the TFWA team for all they have done to try to organize this event under very difficult circumstances. I have absolutely no doubt that the Asia-Pacific market will recover and TFWA is determined to play its part in contributing to its future growth. Our event in Singapore helped build a strong platform for duty free and travel retail in the Asia-Pacific region and will do so again.
“Looking forward, we recognize that the support of our members and duty free and travel retailer is essential if we are to maintain the program of high quality events that has defined the travel retail calendar and is a pillar of our industry growth.
“TFWA exists to provide a platform for brands to do business in the global duty free and travel retail market, and for retailers to offer an attractive range of products to travellers. We cannot provide this platform without brand and retailer support. In the coming days, we will communicate directly with our members with a full update on the situation and the way forward for the Association.
“All of us at TFWA will now redouble our efforts to bring our industry together again in Cannes, at the Palais des Festivals, for a truly global TFWA World Exhibition and Conference that will bring our industry together and lay the foundation for a return to growth.”
TFWA’s physical events returned last year with the organization of the TFWA World Expo from October 24-28 in Cannes.