AMERICAS. The Summit of the Americas – A Virtual Experience took place from 5-9 April, drawing a strong audience from the region north and south, plus from around the world. Here we feature highlights from our rolling day-by-day coverage across the Knowledge Hub, Exhibition Hub and Engagement Lounge (latest entries at the top). A 30-day encore period is now running, during which registered visitors can still connect with exhibitors, download content and view all sessions. Click here for more.

Watch the highlight reel showcasing all our favourite moments from The Summit of the Americas — A Virtual Experience 



A new model for airport commercial contracts presented in week’s final panel session 

A fresh approach to airport commercial tenders which attempts to tackle issues brought forward by the COVID-19 pandemic was presented in detail during the final virtual Summit of the Americas Knowledge Hub panel session, titled Towards A New Business Model.

PT&M Managing Director Eric Trichot – whose experience includes 12 years as Commercial Director of Nice Côte d’Azur Airport – explained its key components, which include a recommended two-year recovery period built into contracts.

He received reaction to his tender model from fellow panellists International Shoppes Director Matthew Greenbaum and Midway Partnership CEO (and Vantage Airport Group Chief Commercial Officer) Sammy Patel, who also gave fascinating insights into how their respective companies have been affected by the pandemic.

A full report follows. You can view the session here.


Airport Restaurant & Retail Association member leaders on the challenges of the pandemic

A panel featuring leaders from members of the Airport Restaurant & Retail Association tackled the big issues facing their industry in the Knowledge Hub yesterday, in one of the key sessions of the week.

SSP America Executive Vice President Pat Murray, Byrd Retail Group LLC President and CEO Judith Byrd, Hudson Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Quinn and Areas USA CEO Carlos Bernal spoke to Dermot Davitt about themes including the airport-retailer business model, the advance of in-airport technology and the manifold operational challenges they have faced.

More on that will appear in a full report on our website in the coming days.

The session finished with some very insightful, and at times, emotional comments about the leadership challenges faced and some of the lessons from the pandemic. Here’s a snapshot of how each panellist responded…

Pat Murray: “This period of time has been really rough in terms of personal loss. And here in the US, where airports remained open, and people flew, you never thought that you would be in a situation where you were going to be taking your life in your hands going to flip cheeseburgers [in the airport].

“But that’s the real reality of what we’ve been through. Because a lot of people out there need to be recognised. The effect there has been on people all over the map, those who lost their parents, or school kids didn’t go to school for a whole year.

“In the service business that we are in it is not uncommon to have single parents employed and you have kids and they have to get them taken care of while they’re out there at the airport, just trying to keep their jobs going. So I think it’s been a really tragic time.”

Giving insights into the leadership challenges of the pandemic to Dermot Davitt (centre left) were (clockwise from top left) Carlos Bernal, Judith Byrd, Pat Murray and Brian Quinn 

Judith Byrd: “There has been so much uncertainty. What has really energised me is to see how this industry of airport restaurant and retail operators have come together to work on and discuss the issues for our own survival.

“But this has given me an opportunity to lean in and try to find solutions. And that has really been the saving grace for me that we’ve been working every single day, to really try to think outside of the box about how to bring our industry back. It’s been great to be a part of it.”

Carlos Bernal: “You know, in spite of all the tough stuff and challenges that we’ve put our team through, and furloughs and the layoffs, and working with a much smaller team than we have in the past, every single person has just stepped up in such a big way just to take on more work, work longer hours, do whatever they needed to do to keep the company moving forward.

“I think the biggest thing for us has been communication, and being completely transparent and honest with what we’re dealing with, sharing our numbers with our team and keeping them in the know about the situation that we’re in. By doing that, you create a level of trust and there is a sense of everybody being in this thing together.”

Brian Quinn: “The recovery would not have been possible without the airport industry coming together, with the whole ecosystem really working well. Our partners have been tremendous.

“Our suppliers have kept the flow of goods coming to us, brought us some innovative ideas to help us get through. My group of ACDBE partners have just been absolutely incredible during this with their understanding, pitching in and so much more.

“And, most importantly, it was really the heroic effort of our frontline employees that made it possible to keep the lights on, giving travellers reliable, safe service.”


Walmart’s Jane Ewing on Prioritising People and the Planet

Senior Vice President Sustainability Jane Ewing discussed how Walmart is putting nature and humanity at the core of its business

Walmart Senior Vice President Sustainability Jane Ewing was one of the final industry figures to feature in the Knowledge Hub of the Summit of the Americas.

In conversation with The Moodie Davitt Report Founder & Chairman Martin Moodie, Ewing outlined Walmart’s ambitious environmental and ethical sustainability programme.

Walmart’s mission is to become regenerative company with nature and humanity at the core of its business.

It has pledged to reach zero emissions across its operations by 2040 and zero waste in key markets by 2025.

The company’s impressive Project Gigaton initiative aims to engage all stakeholders to avoid a gigaton of greenhouse gas emissions from Walmart’s global value chain by 2030. Through the Walmart Foundation, the company has also vowed to help protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030.

Walmart’s Project Gigaton initiative will avoid 1 gigaton of greenhouse gas emissions by 2040

Finally, to promote human dignity, Walmart has also committed to make responsible recruitment standard business practice by 2026.

Commenting on Walmart’s incredible sustainability mission, Ewing said, “We know the impact of our actions on the ecosystem is irreversible. Sustainability as we know it is not enough anymore, we have to go above and beyond what we are doing today.

“Walmart is committed to restoring and renewing instead of just conserving,” she added. “This includes advancing prosperity for our customers, associates and everyone in the supply chain, minimising our waste and carbon footprint and committing to regenerative farming and sustainable sourcing processes.”

Stay tuned for our full report


Introducing Chinese baijiu: “The most unknown and unique spirit in the West”

Aiko Importers shines the Summit spotlight on baijiu, “the number one selling spirit in the world”, and its Lucky Cat brand.

According to Aiko, its Lucky White cat with the raised left paw is a sign of happiness and purity. It brings prosperity to businesses and homes, new customers and good people into your life.

Lucky Cat also offers a Japanese whisky and a three-piece gift set. Aiko’s portfolio includes Dragonfire wine, Bushido Japanese whisky, Goalong Chinese single malt, Napoleon brandy and other gift packs.


Targeting expansion in the Caribbean and Latin America

Dubai-based Al Tounbak is the exclusive distributor of Ashima, Marble and 99 cigarettes, all produced by Yunnan Tobacco International.

Marble is highlighted as a good option for border shop operators. The brand is already well known in Central America and targeting further expansion in the Caribbean and Latin America.



In this Knowledge Hub session, J.D. Power Travel Senior Director and Practice Lead Michael Taylor offered insights into how passengers judged their airport experiences throughout the COVID pandemic, and what operators and retailers can do to maintain strong ratings as they move towards recovery.

Taylor is responsible for providing industry thought leadership and business improvement recommendations to J.D. Power clients in the airline, airport, and car rental segments.

In the North American satisfaction study, airports are categorised as mega (those handling 33 million or more passengers per year), large (10 to 32.9 million) and medium (4.5 to 9.9 million)

The latest J.D. Power statistics indicate that 26% of travellers prioritise airport terminal facilities, 20% arrival and departure and 10% F&B and retail options.

“But don’t let that 10% fool you because that 10% separates a good airport from a great airport,” Taylor said.

According to Taylor, surveys taken during COVID restrictions indicated marked increases in passenger airport satisfaction. Airports were handling smaller numbers of passengers; there was less crowding and people were happy to be out of everyday, lockdown situations.

With lockdown easing, expectations are changing again as an increasing number of passengers expect an increasing number of services – for example, more coffee shops – to be available at airports.

“The takeaway from the charts is that expectations are changing as we get into this vaccine period or the end of the pandemic,” Taylor said.

“Every pandemic in the history of the world has ended and this one will end as well. We are going to go back to the problems we like to have, which include having too many customers. Having no one in the terminal, now that’s a problem you do not want to have.”

Taylor introduced a second survey, JD Passenger View COVID Update, which reveals passengers’ COVID concerns are lessening, with ‘unconcerned’ up to 27% and ‘very concerned’ down to 9%.

“The vaccine is really starting to shift public sentiment especially about travelling. I believe there is going to be a pent up demand for travel, revenge travel if you wish.”

Questioned on the usage of protective masks, 21% of travellers said they would stop using them. Four in ten would continue to wear masks throughout 2021 while nearly 60% preferred all passengers and airport staff members to be masked.

Taylor pointed out that travellers were concerned about catching COVID on an aircraft because of the confined space and difficulties to social distance. He underlined the importance of a traveller’s ability to control his or her personal space and hygiene safety within airports, and especially in the F&B and retail sectors.

Post-COVID, Taylor predicted friction around mask use and a decline in passenger satisfaction as airport traffic picks up and expectations change once again.

“We found that airports have done a great job in telling passengers what they have done to make them feel safe. Improved communciations is going to be a key through all of 2021,” Taylor added. He suggested airport operators and retailers merchandise their recovery plans, adopt a strategy to “handhold” anxious travellers and recognise pressure points.

In conclusion, Taylor suggested that “an aircraft is just like a good restaurant. A good restaurant has every seat filled every night and a good airline has every seat filled on every flight. That’s just good business and that’s what we need to get back to.”


Cruise retailers predict a strong comeback for the sector and encourage brands to invest in the channel

A high-quality panel looked forward to the cruise industry getting back into full swing yesterday in the Knowledge Hub session Shaping a New Future for the Cruise & Maritime Sectorwith speakers backing their belief that the channel will come back stronger than before. 

Starboard Cruise Services President & CEO Lisa Bauer, Harding Deputy Managing Director Mark Birnie, Heinemann Americas CEO Nadine Heubel and SMT Duty Free Executive Vice President Eddie Ferenczi all gave polished presentations, followed by a fascinating Q&A with Dermot Davitt.

They covered the big issues relating to cruise industry development, safety, recovery, and particularly the rebound of onboard retail. 

Dermot Davitt (top left) discusses the big cruise retail issues with (clockwise from top right), Lisa Bauer, Nadine Heubel, Eddie Ferenczi and Mark Birnie

Ferenczi said that spending will be high when cruise-goers return to sail. He said: “The first returning passengers are going to be the loyal cruisers, who tend to be a little bit on the upper side of the age curve, which will lead to a higher, more educated spend.  

“I think there’s going to be a lot of excitement from that first wave of cruisers. There’s going to be a certain degree of passion from passengers who will be excited to say that ‘I made it first to the Caribbean, I made it first to Asia, I made it first to all the destinations’ and this passion is going to create more consumerism than before.”

The panellists were asked what their message is to brands that already have a presence in the channel, and also potential new retail suppliers who might be thinking of investing in cruise retail. 

Heubel said: “Yes, the industry is still in crisis, and yes, there are still not many ships out there. We have had a pause for 12 months, but this industry is big and it is going to come back strongly.

“We have a captive audience. So, there are actually many things that brands can do. And you can test [brands and products] and you can develop a relationship between brand and guest as well. My message is to continue investing in the cruise channel because the future is bright.” 

A very bright future awaits the cruise industry as ships set sail again, according to the panel (image: Virgin Voyages)

Bauer also had bullish words to say on the potential of cruise for brands: “I would just encourage all the brands to think about the cruise industry as a laboratory. If you want to launch a product, you want to test a product, you want put something out there in a certain region, I think all of us [on this panel] would be very willing to support that.  

“Think about category exclusives, people want things with bragging rights, that they can’t get in other places. When people get on a cruise ship, they have a mindset that they will spend money, and they want things that can create memories, and things that remind them of their destination or celebrating something. 

“So help us curate that, help us bring that to life on board. The guests will be spending, and they’re definitely going to be spending at unprecedented levels.” 

Birnie’s passion for the cruise industry came to fore, when he sent out his call to brands: “I honestly don’t think there’s going to be a better time than now to invest in cruise retail, it’s an opportunity if you’re a brand or supplier.  

“I can’t say strongly enough that once ships get back into the waters and things have settled down, the industry is going to get back to exactly where it was, if not in a stronger position to where it was back in 2019. It’s going to be back to boom time. 

“I can’t see a scenario where that doesn’t happen, even though we’ve still got a little bit of pain to go through in the next couple of months. Now is the time to get onboard if you [the brand] thought twice about joining cruise retail, definitely.” 

You can watch the session in full here.

Final day kicks off

Welcome to the final day of the Summit of the Americas, with plenty of activity continuing in the Exhibition Hub, and another set of high-class Knowledge Hub sessions to come.

Today we will talk about the business model, in the company of PT&M Managing Director Eric Trichot, International Shoppes Director Matthew Greenbaum and Midway Partnership CEO (and Vantage Airport Group Chief Commercial Officer) Sammy Patel. We will get the traveller view of the airport experience from J.D. Power Travel Practice Lead Michael Taylor. And we will examine the key issue of sustainability, in what promises to be a big event highlight, with Walmart Senior Vice President Sustainability Jane Ewing.

Many thanks to all those industry friends and colleagues who joined the Duty Free Global (DFG) social evening last night, rounding off the week with a chilled glass and great (virtual) company, led by DFG Founder Barry Geoghegan.

Industry friends and colleagues from around the world joined a memorable Duty Free Global (virtual) social evening on Thursday



The CEO Chair: Vancouver Airport’s Tamara Vrooman talks digitalisation and diversification

Vancouver Airport Authority President & CEO Tamara Vrooman closed day four of the Summit of the Americas Knowledge Hub by sharing her insights into how the airport business will evolve post-pandemic.

Vrooman was appointed CEO of YVR in July 2020 and — in a compelling interview with The Moodie Davitt Report President & Editorial Director Dermot Davitt — looked back at what has been a year of both crisis and opportunity.

“When I joined, the pandemic was in full swing and it was eyes wide open for our sector,” she said. “I was previously the CEO of a large regional financial institution and helped the company recover from the financial crisis of 2008; so, I’ve had some experience leading a company through tumultuous times.”

“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste,” she added. “We’re taking this opportunity to re-examine our business so that we can take the next steps forward.”

One of the key shifts, according to Vrooman, was a move away from brick & mortar and into digitalisation and revenue diversification. “Business and revenue diversification were already priorities, and that has continued, although with some turbulence, over the last year. We noticed a big shift of passengers’ individual preferences away from physical stores and into the digital realm and we had  to rethink our offer to adapt to this.

“Digitalisation is here to stay and we’re helping our retail and concession partners to make investments to adapt to the permanent shifts in how people shop.”

Click here to read our full report

TRBusiness hosts Travel Retail Sustainability Panel

TRBusiness hosted its Travel Retail Sustainability Forum at the Knowledge Hub on Day four of the Summit of the Americas.

The panel comprised Brown Forman Director of Environmental Health & Safety Andy Battjes, San Francisco International Airport Retail Revenues Director Cheryl Nashir, Virgin Voyages Social Impact & Sustainability Director Jill Stoneberg and Harding Business Development Director and Deputy Managing Director Mark Birnie.

The panel was led by TRBusiness Acting Managing Editor Luke Barras-Hill and TRBusiness Events & CSR Director Michael Barrett.

The session highlighted various sustainability initiatives, innovations and programmes from cruise, airport and brand players. Stoneberg and Birnie outlined Virgin Voyages’ ‘Epic Sea Change for All’ and ‘Changing Sailing for Good’ sustainability programmes.

Battjes outlined Brown Forman’s sustainability approach and discussed how the company built long-term supply chain partnerships to minimise its environmental impact, while Nashir offered the airport perspective.


Putting sustainability – and butterflies – in the spotlight

Monarq Group introduces its latest launches and campaigns in an impressive line-up which, alphabetically, starts with Asahi Beer and ends with Wolfburn Scottish whisky.

While highlighting the role of digitalisation and premiumisation in the ‘new norm’, Monarq also shines a light on its sustainability and CSR programme, which supports a WWF campaign to preserve a vital Monarch Butterfly reserve in Mexico.

Apparently, the Monarchs are not as frail as they look. The butterflies are part of an incredible migratory phenomenon which sees them flying between 1,200 and 2,800 miles, or more, from the US and Canada to central Mexican forests.


Airport travel essentials and speciality retail experts deliver upbeat message on future of segment

An excellent session involving four key figures from the Americas travel essentials and speciality retail segment of airport shopping was yesterday staged in the Knowledge Hub, with all the participants reporting a strong bounce back in the US, driven by leisure travel.

Speaking to Dermot Davitt, Marshall Retail Group Chief Development Officer Roderick McOwan, Stellar Partners CEO Padraig Drennan, Hudson CEO Roger Fordyce and Paradies Lagardère President & CEO Gregg Paradies tackled a number of key issues relating to airport retail recovery.

These included discussions surrounding airport-retailer contracts, the rise of touchless shopping, the pace of store re-openings and how they see customer requirements changing in the face of the pandemic.

Fordyce, who said that about 650 of 1,000 Hudson airport stores across North America are now open, believes that demand for physical retail is very much on the rise. He said: “We are seeing some pent-up demand for the ability to get into bricks and mortar shopping. Folks have been in this virtual and online shopping environment for a long time now.

“And while passengers are not necessarily at the airport for shopping, there is a tremendous amount of dwell time that opens up the opportunities for people to get back into physical retail. They want to once again touch and feel the product before they buy it, unlike what they’ve experienced for the past 12 months.”

The panellists offered strong views on how the airport-retailer model should change following the complete collapse of business due to COVID-19.

Gregg Paradies, who reported that 65-70% of his company’s stores have now reopened across 100 airports, said: “It’s a conversation we’ve had with a lot of our airport partners. The good news is now there’s openness to talk about it. The minimum guarantee model needs to at least change to tie into traffic.

“In this way when there is another pandemic or another great recession, that contract will adjust accordingly. There’s a different mindset. I’d say 90% [of airports in which Paradies Lagardère has a presence] have been great partners in addressing these issues.

Retailers on the rise: Dermot Davitt (top right) talks to (clockwise from centre right) Gregg Paradies, Roderick McOwan, Roger Fordyce and Padraig Drennan about the key issues facing airport travel essentials and specialty retail

“The good news is that airports are thinking about it differently, consultants are thinking about it differently. And it’s all going back to partnership, looking at how we make that traveller’s experience a better one. I think we’ve made progress today versus where we were pre-pandemic.”

Drennan, who also revealed that 65-70% of Stellar Partners stores have recommenced trading, said he had seen great flexibility from the retailer’s airport partners in addressing pandemic difficulties.

Asked about the business model going forward, he said: “My own preference is for a model where MAG [Minimum Annual Guarantee] is related either to per passenger spend, or that there are parameters around it in terms of a drop in traffic. Similarly, on the other hand, if passengers increase more than expected [the payment increases] so that there’s more of a shared risk, in terms of the financial commitment.

“Working with our airports, we did what we needed to do together to survive [the pandemic]. And now it’s a case of just rebuilding the industry, across the board with a better, longer-term sustainable business model.

“Then we can all make the right decisions, to push the industry forward, working with our brands, as well as with the airports themselves.”

Meanwhile, McOwan said that 80-90% of WHSmith-owned MRG’s stores are already back in business.

He finished the session with a strong rallying call: “There’s always been a great demand for people to come and get a taste of Americana. I think that when international passengers return there will be a massive pent-up demand for the longer-term.

“Discussions need to continue about making airport retail experiential, we must continue to innovate and create unique retail experiences.

“I ask our brand partners, our ACDBE [Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprises] partners, our clients and our landlords to just keep the faith. This business will come back and it’ll probably come back even stronger than it was in 2019.”

Watch this highly recommended session in full here.


Haylebrooke International lives up to its name at the Summit

Haleybrooke International is presenting a diverse portfolio with headliners including Broken Shed vodka from New Zealand and Welsh whisky specialist Penderyn.

The international line-up includes Labouré-Roi and Terroirs Distillers from France, Austria’s Mozart chocolate liqueur and Ireland’s Babco.


“Take the good times wherever you go”

Shisha specialist Mazaya is intent on exploring the potential in the Americas and is adamant that its products will increase basket size without cannibalising other tobacco products.

It offers visitors a 360-deg tour of its production facility and the answer to what is probably a frequently-asked question.


Maximising opportunities in the Americas

“We must collaborate and innovate if we are to survive,” says SEVA IBP Managing Director of Duty Free and Travel Retail Laura Klingeman.

Partnership and innovation are long standing, key values for the SEVA group so we hope that this spirit of ‘in this together’ is the legacy of the pandemic period.”

The travel retailer and distributor has big ambitions and a growing presence in the industry worldwide. It is showcasing its own Rubis wine along with other major brands.



The Future of Airlines: A Big Picture View

In this opening session of day four ALTA (Latin American & Caribbean Air Transport Association) Executive Director & CEO José Ricardo Botelho offered the all-important airline perspective on recovery.

He underlined the association’s role in contributing to the economic and social growth of the region through the development of a safe, more efficient and sustainable aviation industry.

According to Botelho, the number of passengers carried by Latin American and Caribbean airlines has tripled over the past 20 years (96 million in 2000 and 300 million in 2019).

“It’s a market which was growing a lot, with each country making changes to unchain barriers for this sector.” He noted its strong potential, continued importance and positive impact on the region, especially considering that the 300 million passengers in 2019 is matched by a similar number of local inhabitants.

Botelho pointed out that the pandemic halted the region’s positive traffic growth trend – “a huge loss for the sector” – and subsequent government aid has been limited.

“Right now we believe the best way to recovery in our sector, the best way to resume operations, is the vaccine. The vaccine is going to give people the confidence to come back to travel but what we see unfortunately in our region is that is going too slow. It’s going to take a while to happen.”

“We are at the point of no return. We know what condition the sector is in; the difference lies in the decisions we are going to make to reactive the industry, to generate jobs and wellness.

“Are people ready to take off with us? Are people ready to come back travelling? How do we restore confidence?” he asked. Biosafety measures are a must, as is the necessity to show that travel, aviation and travel retail channels are safe, he added.

Botelho noted five travel trends for 2021 and highlighted an IATA survey, which indicates that 88% of travellers believe that, as borders open, the right balance must be struck between managing COVID-19 risks and getting the economy going again.

“And how are we going to do that? With confidence, with new protocols and with the vaccine.”

Botelho said the Latin American and Caribbean industry is “ready to take off”. “We have challenges, this is true, but together we send a powerful message to help our industry.”

Botelho rounded off his presentation on an optimistic note and a rather fitting quote from American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it”.

Watch the full session here.



We have a diverse and exciting line-up for you in the Knowledge Hub today, with sessions on the airline market in Latin America, the cruise & maritime retail sector, sustainability, the future of airport concessions, plus our latest instalment of The CEO Chair, this time with Vancouver Airport CEO Tamara Vrooman.

Guests can still register here. More information and the full agenda can be found here.


Have you had a chance to explore our Exhibition Hub Yet? If not, here is a dynamic video walkthrough of the West Hall which houses the #VirtualStands from the Wines & Spirits and Tobacco & Reduced Risk products categories.

At the West Hall, you can discover the latest product innovations from Mazaya, McCormick Distilling Company, AIKO, Flor de Caña, Casa AGP, Monarq Group, Arterra Wines Canada, Duty Free Global, Altria, SEVA IBP, Haleybrooke International, Al Tounbak, Proximo Spirits, Stoli Group and  Zimpex.

Take a tour of the West Hall and view our virtual walkthrough below


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#OribeObsessed: Oribe Hair Care puts the spotlight on ‘best-in-class’ hair care

Oribe Hair Care is showcasing its exhibiting its Dry Texturising Spray, Serene Scalp Collection and two travel-friendly sets at the Summit of the Americas.

Oribe Hair Care launched in the US domestic market in 2008. Since then, it has successfully created its own niche category in the luxury haircare space that has spurred growth in North America and worldwide.

In a recent interview with The Moodie Davitt Report, Oribe Hair Care Global General Manager Sid Katari said, “Our goal is to continue expanding our footprint within the travel retail segment and to share Oribe’s commitment to quality and performance through our unique collection of best-in-class products.”

According to Katari, travel retail offers plenty of growth opportunities in the luxury hair care space, he said: “As we expand into new markets, we will continue to focus on our omnichannel distribution. This includes the travel retail segment, where there is great opportunity for Oribe to reach consumers who have a renewed desire for travelling.”

The 130th anniversary expression offers a deep wood and vanilla flavour with a long, smooth finish

Flor de Caña highlights carbon neutral and fair trade rum portfolio

Sustainable rum producer Flor de Caña is showcasing its carbon neutral and fair trade 130th Anniversary Rum and Eco rum at the Summit of the Americas.

The fifth-generation family-owned rum company was founded in 1890 and celebrates its 130th anniversary this year.

The Flor de Caña 130th anniversary rum is a luxury, 90 proof rum that was aged for 20 years in premium bourbon barrels. The barrels were hand-selected from the family’s private reserve to commemorate its 130th anniversary.

The Flor de Caña Eco Rum is an ultra-premium rum that underscores the brand’s commitment to sustainability. The expression was distilled using renewable energy sources and packaged in 100% recyclable materials. The rum is Kosher, naturally-aged and foregoes the use of any artificial ingredients, sugar or gluten.

A taste of Canada with Arterra

Arterra Wines Canada is showcasing its Inniskillin Icewine and Jackson Triggs brands at the Summit of the Americas, with the aim of highlighting Canada as a “high quality wine region.”

Commenting in the brand’ participation at the event, Arterra Wines Canada International & Global Travel Retail Strategic Account Manager Beth Campbell said: “We are Canada’s number one wine company with several leading and unique brands.

“Most people would have heard of our iconic Inniskillin Icewine but what is most exciting is the emergence of Canada as a high quality wine region. Our focus is to re-acquaint and introduce who we are as a company and showcase our wines that are sold around the world.”

Arterra Wines Canada is leveraging the growing popularity of cool climate wines and will be highlighting its portfolio of leading Canadian brands at the Summit. According to Campbell, each wine in the Arterra portfolio has a unique story to tell. She said: “As the appetite for interesting cool climate wines grows internationally, we see opportunities for our brands to be enjoyed by new and experienced wine lovers in this dynamic market.

Inniskillin Icewine is highly awarded and Internationally recognised



Carlos Melconian noted a “visible lack of leadership” in the global pandemic response

Carlos Melconian on the economic outlook for Latin America

In a compelling Knowledge Hub Session, renowned economist Carlos Melconian shared his insights on the economic, sanitary, and political outlook for Latin America amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

Melconian founded M&S Consultores in 1991 and has advised both local and foreign businesses and institutions about the national economic environment. He has also worked as a consultant for the World Bank and for Latin American governments and served as President of Banco de la Nación Argentina in 2016.

Melconian presented the global ‘triangle of the crisis,’ covering sanitary, political and economic pandemic issues.

The triangle of crisis: Carlos Melconian presented the sanitary, economic and political landscape in Latin America

Commenting on the global response to COVID-19, he said: “There was no unique pandemic management model in the world. Each country moved forward with its own model and none of them were successful.”

According to Melconian, the crisis revealed a “visible lack of leadership worldwide,” and highlighted analysis, coordination and communication deficiencies in the main unilateral organisations like the World Health Organisation, G20 and G7.

From the global economic standpoint, Melconian said that the pandemic put growth trends off track, leaving a deep output gap which would take several years to recover.

He also highlighted how the service sector was the most negatively affected industry by the crisis; and that the technological acceleration caused by the pandemic will permanently affect labour markets.

According to Melconian, the Latin American ‘triangle of crisis’ was very different from the global picture. Brazil is awaiting a third wave, amidst low vaccination progress, while the already stagnant regional economy faces further troubles caused by lockdowns and unemployment.

While extreme pandemic responses from Argentina and Brazil, resulted in highly negative results; the only country to make significant immunisation progress in the region is Chile, which had already vaccinated 26% of the population.

Melconian also stressed that while the increase of raw material prices will help reduce some economic vulnerabilities and boost some sectors, it won’t be enough to solve imbalances in the regional economy.

From the political standpoint, Melconian warns that the pandemic and its social and economical consequences can open the space for the rebirth of a regional left-wing party. The uncertainty of this, he says, will be ‘bad news’ for the economic scenario in the coming years.

DFNI Americas Awards

The winners of the 2021 DFNI Americas Awards were revealed in the Knowledge Hub today.

The awards were reimagined to focus on the positives to emerge from the past year, with special categories to reflect the changes and challenges to businesses.

Americas Travel Retail of the Year: Aer Rianta International North America

Exceptional Achievement by a Retailer in both Cruise and Inflight channels: Omnichannel Digital Platform – 3Sixty Duty Free & More

Airport in the Americas with the Most Supportive Approach to Retail: Bermuda Skyport Corporation

Best New Shop Opening: The Macallan Boutique, JFK Airport – Edrington Global Travel Retail

Exceptional Achievement by a Cruise Retailer: Carnival Miracle – Retail Reimagined, Starboard Cruise Services

Exceptional Achievement by an Inflight Retailer: Omnichannel Digital Platform – 3Sixty Duty Free & More

Exceptional Achievement by an Airport Retailer: Launch of – Aer Rianta International North America

Hero Fashion, Jewellery, Watches or Electronics/Gifting Product of the Year: Carnival Fun Ship Speaker – Carnival Cruise Lines

Hero Confectionery & Fine Food Product of the Year: Toblerone Gingery Orange Range – Mondelez World Travel Retail

Hero Beauty Product of the Year: Long Haul Spa Inflight Spa Kits – Long Haul Spa

Hero Wines & Spirits Product of the Year: South Cause – VSPT Wine Group

Americas Supplier of the Year: The Hershey Company

Sustainability Initiative of the Year: Joseph’s – Manufacture Belge de Chocolats

Team of the Year: Jessie, Sabrina, Agnes, Candy, Maggie, Shannon, Holly, Fanni, Jenny and Anne – SPARK Group of Companies



“Meant to be kissed”: Stoli Group – Se Busca™ Mezcal (with virtual tasting)

Stoli Global Brand Ambassador Simone Bodini takes guests on a fascinating virtual Se Busca mezcal journey and tasting which is thoroughly recommended.

Bodini’s knowledge of the brand and his enthusiasm to share its history, the families behind its production and, finally, the Se Busca taste, is outstanding.

A hands-on brand ambassador, Bodini explains that locals say mezcal is “meant to be kissed”. “You are supposed to sip it, very slowly and enjoy every drop.”

And, as she shares his tasting, Bodini introduces guests to a “beautiful and very powerful” local word – Dixeebe – a toast to good health and Mother Nature.

Dixeebe Simone. Not only do I want to try Se Busca, I also want to travel to Oaxaca in Mexico to meet that amazing team!

Click here to join Simone Bodini’s virtual Se Busca mezcal tasting.


Duty free border stores leaders talk up sector as COVID-19 severely restricts operations

Leaders from three prominent duty free border store businesses in the Americas gave a highly positive outlook for the sector in the face of difficult pandemic challenges during today’s Knowledge Hub session, Rebuilding the Border Store Business from North to South. 

The trio – Neutral by Luryx Duty Free Shop CEO Marcelo Montico, Duty Free Americas CEO Jerome Falic and IGL Vice President Justin Guay – spoke with calm assurance about the continuing difficulties brought upon their operations by the COVID-19 pandemic, and what shape the recovery will take. 

With the timing of border re-openings in the hands of Americas governments and the speed with which the authorities can organise and execute their vaccination programmes, the business leaders are focusing on servicing the relatively small amount of business that is currently available. 

In the case of Montico and Guay, that business is very limited with the focus primarily on commercial and essentials traffic. Neutral by Luryx and IGL are suffering from the continued closure of borders between Uruguay and Brazil, and Canada and the US respectively. 

The picture is somewhat better for Falic and Duty Free Americas, with their stores spread over multiple borders across the Americas and generally a wider customer base to serve. 

Neutral by Luryx currently has seven of its nine stores open and is currently being hampered by a slow roll out of vaccinations, not least in Brazil, where Montico reported that only 3-4% of the population has so far been vaccinated. The picture is better in the smaller territory of Uruguay, with 11% of its people vaccinated to date. 

Montico, who expects a strong rebound of business when normal trading conditions eventually resume, said: “The evolution of the health crisis is crucial to reopening of the Uruguay/Brazil borders. We don’t believe there will be any good news before August.” 

Despite this, he said he remains very optimistic, adding that when business resumes, “as soon as the consumers can get here we believe that they are going to buy some of the products as a kind of reward for the many months they were closed off”. 

Dermot Davitt (top left) discusses border store issues with (clockwise from top right) Neutral by Luryx Duty Free Shop CEO Marcelo Montico, Duty Free Americas CEO Jerome Falic and IGL Vice President Justin Guay

Montico reports that a market of about 170,000 people who live in cities which straddle the Uruguay/Brazil border can still reach Neutral by Luryx stores, but he revealed that since the start of the pandemic the time spent by individuals in stores has dropped from an average of 37 minutes to 16 minutes. 

This is partly due to Luryx’s growing online order and curbside pickup business, which is also a key focus for Guay and IGL. Guay – who reported average business levels of -90% against 2019 last year – said his company is soon to unveil a new website featuring all of IGL’s inventory, which he expects to significantly boost sales going forward. 

On the prospects of recovery Guay said: “When we had the SARS crisis and that was going away people still had a little bit of an apprehension about taking an aeroplane. So we are expecting to have a bit of a surge when this is over – people are really going to start hitting the border. 

“I am excited about the prospects for our digital offer and curbside pickup because we have had a lot of difficulty in Canada, with the consumer understanding how this [duty free border stores] works, or even if they’re allowed to shop duty free. So this might even open up some opportunities to educate customers about how duty free works, and that it is available for them.” 

Meanwhile, Falic reflected that the acceleration of ecommerce will make things much more competitive for the border store market. He said: “Online shopping has been extremely strong. It’s gone a few years ahead of itself. People have got very used to sitting at home and just ordering and not going out. But we will also promote ourselves and draw traffic to our shops.”

On the likely speed of recovery, Falic said: “The US people are getting vaccinated, but then all the other countries are lagging. In different parts of South and Central America it is a question of when they’re going to get the vaccines, how many they’re going to get, and how long it will take them to vaccinate enough of the population so that they can start travelling again.” 

On a more optimistic note, he said that the difficulties associated with the pandemic and having the credentials to fly will work in border stores’ favour: “With the border, it’s going to be a lot easier for customers to shop. When they can do so, a lot of families will be taking road trips. It will be the new way of going on vacation. So that can help border business to increase over time.” 



New York JFKIAT President and CEO Roel Huinink on the spirit of partnership between his terminal and its concessionaires in the face of the pandemic

There was a fascinating session with great insights into the airport/concessionaire relationship in the Knowledge Hub earlier today, as Dermot Davitt spoke to New York John F. Kennedy International Air Terminal (JFKIAT) President and CEO Roel Huinink for Day Three’s CEO Chair interview.

Huinink talked of a strong spirit of partnership as the terminal he presides over negotiates the slow climb back from near zero traffic in the early days of the pandemic to a fast-improving position today. Some 50-55% of 2019 domestic passenger levels have been restored and 30-35% of international passengers.

A great discussion about how JFKIAT has negotiated its way through the pandemic unfolds between Dermot Davitt (top) and Roel Huinink

He paid tribute to his own staff in keeping the terminal open throughout the pandemic period, also to how the concessionaires – which at JFKIAT include Paradies Lagardère, DFS, Dufry, Hudson and SSP – have kept the commercial offer and passenger experience alive.

Huinink finished his interview with a strong message of hope for the airport and travel retail industries: “I think the future is bright. It has been an extremely rough year for the airport industry, for us as a company and for me personally. But I’m looking forward to the new normal, I want to go back to travel. I think that the consumer is ready.

“I feel that we as an industry have collaborated strongly through this pandemic. Obviously, it will remain a bumpy road. But that’s okay. As long as we keep collaborating and being open and honest with each other and have fair negotiations, I’m sure we will come out of it stronger.”

A full report follows on The Moodie Davitt Report web site.


Designed to Fly: Anatomie hosts virtual trunk show at the Engagement Lounge

Anatomie offers, chic, versatile, light-weight and easy to care for luxury leisurewear products, says Kate Boyer

“This event was almost a decade in the making, and we want to show you why our brand is a good fit for the travel retail industry,” said Anatomie Co-Founders Shawn and Kate Boyer as the luxury travel leisurewear brand hosted an intimate virtual event at the Engagement Lounge.

Anatomie works exclusively with easy-care, breathable performance and stretch fabrics that are travel-friendly, wrinkle-resistant and eliminate the need for dry-cleaning and ironing. At the Summit, it is showcasing its highly-versatile Travel Essentials range and Packing Cube capsules.

Anatomie’s products are lightweight and come with a lifetime guarantee. They also feature built-in UPF 50+ protection.

The Travel Essentials range feature jackets, vests, pants and jersey tops in a wide selection of colours. The pieces can be used as business attire, cruise wear, resort wear or even as golf apparel.

The packing cubes are available in gold, red, white and black. Each cube holds up to eight rolled Anatomie pieces and takes up minimal space in carry-on luggage.

Anatomie hosted a virtual trunk show to showcase its top-selling athleisure products

Anatomie also held a virtual trunk show to showcase its top-selling products and highlight the key features and USPs of the Travel Essentials range.

Co-Founder Kate Boyer added, “With Anatomie, we are teaching our customers to do more with less. Our products are wash-and-go and requires no dry-cleaning and no ironing, which saves time energy money and all that goes into it.”

According to Shawn Boyer, Anatomie is looking for long-term partnerships at the Summit of the Americas. He said, “We’re not a one-hit wonder, we’re looking for long-term partnerships. We’re only successful, if you’re successful.”


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A taste of Asia for the Americas: Zimpex Marketing champions the power of Asian tobacco brands

The distributor, exporter and manufacturer of tobacco and cigarette brands is a first-time Summit of the Americas exhibitor and is determined to  highlight the power of Asian brands.

The Zimpex portfolio includes Li Qun, Pride, Guiyan, Modern and R.G.D. Its heat-not-burn vape brands, MOK and Kung Fu, target the growing consumer trend for alternative tobacco products.

Zimpex offers visitors a series of videos which highlight not just its bands but their location, background and production. Well worth taking a look!


“A win for operators and great for guests”

Airport ecommerce specialist Servy introduces its one platform/many touchpoints digital concept.

Servy aims to reduce high-touch aspects of service at a time when contactless options are most needed. The company is highlighting the latest developments from its Grab Airport Marketplace, its existing partners and collaborations in major US airports.


Have you had a chance to explore the Exhibition Hub yet? If not, here is a dynamic video walkthrough of the East Hall which houses the #VirtualStands from the Beauty & Wellbeing, Confectionery & Food, Fashion & Accessories, Toys & Gifts and Services Category.

At the East Hall, you can explore the exciting products, services and experiences of Mondelez World Travel Retail, Oribe Hair Care, Delaviuda Confectionery Group, Spark Group of Companies, SaniGo, Anatomie, LEGO Group, Essence Corp, Loacker, Servy, Filtr.Qingwa and Ferrero.


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Mondelez World Travel Retail debuts new digital home at the Summit of the Americas

A long-time partner of the Summit of the Americas, Mondelez World Travel Retail (WTR) is making a return to the regional event, for the first time, in a virtual format this year.

Marking another first, the confectionery giant is debuting a new fully immersive 360-degree digital experience at the summit, which the company promises will “delight, excite and inspire” all Summit visitors.

“We are also excited to take this virtual opportunity to debut our new digital home,” says Mondelez WTR Head of Global Sales Carlos Granados Moyano. “This new digital environment will share more about our trusted brands, sustainability initiatives, future plans and how we believe we can work with our partners to help lead recovery.”

Click here to read our full interview or view the video walkthrough of the Mondelez WTR stand below


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Day three of the Knowledge Hub sessions features a packed programme of one-to-one discussions, presentations and panel discussions.

At 0900 US Eastern time we begin with the latest instalment of The CEO Chair, in which we speak live to JFKIAT (New York T4) President & CEO Roel Huinink about the challenge of operating a predominantly international terminal amid the pandemic.

We will talk border duty free shopping in North and South America at 1030 EST in the company of leading players Duty Free Americas, IGL Duty Free and Neutral by Luryx Duty Free.

At 1200 EST the latest edition of the DFNI Americas Awards take place, followed at 1300 by a senior panel of travel retailers (Hudson, Stellar Partners, Paradies Lagardère and Marshall Retail Group) on the future for speciality retail and travel essentials.

We conclude with insights and data covering the major economies of Latin America, with leading economist Carlos Melconian at 1400 EST.

Watch out for our virtual coffee breaks too, courtesy of Somrus Coffee and the wonderful Sadekar Sisters, in between sessions.

For more details or to register, click here.


Spark Group – Optimising Sales & Promotions

In this session Spark Group Founder Heidi Van Roon presents key considerations for a mid-crisis sales and promotion plan.

She underlines the continuing importance of the in-person experience in travel retail. “We are entering an era where the sales function if going to be more important than ever,” she says.

“Yes, there is digital and yes, consumer behaviour has heavily moved to online sales but in the beauty, confectionery and liquor categories we certainly do not see our customers going to a vending machine for their products.”

Van Roon also introduces Spark’s Brand Partner Program, which could just be the most disruptive plan of all and a game changer for all stakeholders.

Here is a link to the full session.


The power of combining data and advertising to target Americas travel audiences

A session packed with insights into the travel recovery of the Americas through airline ticketing data and case studies of how high-tech out of home and airport advertising helps brands target native audiences was staged in the Knowledge Hub today.

Travel data analyst ForwardKeys, through its VP Insights Olivier Ponti, and Ben Milne, Managing Director of longstanding partner PSI Advertising each gave highly-engaging presentations underlining their respective spheres of expertise and exactly how they complement each other.

ForwardKeys VP Insights Olivier Ponti and PSI’s Ben Milne gave slick presentations which highlighted the power of combining rich travel data with out of home advertising to target audiences in the Americas 

Ponti kicked off proceedings by taking the audience through key data from Americas air travel including top destination cities in the region, domestic and international air traffic trends, the most resilient US airports and traveller profile segmentation.

Milne’s section included impressive case studies of out of home advertising campaigns executed for Dell Technologies, Tag Heuer and United Airlines, and insights into the advertising technology advances which enable such brands to target consumers with pin-point accuracy.

Olivier Ponti presented insights with included a close look at key trends in the South American air travel market, shown above (click to enlarge)

Assessing the current travel and out of home advertising landscape, Milne said: “This pandemic is the first truly global disaster in the modern age, and it has brought with it unprecedented levels of challenge. It has underlined that volatility really is the new normal. So the only way for us to effectively address these monumental shifts in the patterns of movement and behaviour is through better audience understanding, more agile planning, and more dynamic activation.

“All of this is made possible through more relevant, more frequent, more reliable and more actionable data intelligence. At PSI, we’ve continued to develop our global data infrastructure throughout the pandemic, leaning heavily on our partnerships with experts like ForwardKeys.

Ben Milne explained the advances and trends in out of home advertising technology which are shaping the market

“This ensures that we’re able to help brands navigate the ongoing uncertainty with genuine audience intelligence and understanding of mobility patterns, ensuring that the best outcomes come from using the out of home advertising channel.”

You can view this highly-recommended session in full here.


Blending digitalisation and humanisation

The strong line-up of speakers in this Knowledge Hub session included Spark Business Services Group Founder and CEO Heidi van Roon, ARI-North America General Manager Jackie McDonagh, Dufry Chief Operating Officer South America Gustavo Fagundes and Servy CXO Jeff Livney.

The ability to blend digitalisation and humanisation, Van Roon said, is “at the crux of the travel retail recovery”. However, she was quick to point out that the recent acceleration of the digital channel has far outpaced the development of the human side.

“Critically, the human side of our industry has not just been left in stalemate since March 2020, it has been decimated so the emphasis on investing in humanisation can not be overstated.”

Van Roon noted the likelihood of retail counters becoming centres for live streaming, KOL hotspots and stages for social media campaigns that go viral. “Are we ready for that?” she asked.

“Travel retail is a channel with a consumer profile that deserves investment. Better understanding the psychographics of our customer is mission critical for blending the humanisation side of our strategy and for strengthening the emotional connection in a way that digital can’t. For travel retail the future rests on the ability to build on this USP.

“The power of the human experience has been the life blood that has supported the success of travel retail so far and it is the life line that will support it in the future. To align our industry priorities is truly the unique window of opportunity before us now as we plan a brighter future.”

Airport ecommerce specialist Servy Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer Jeff Livney described recently-renamed Servy  as “so much more than just grab and go” and predicted further development in multiple digital offers in the travel retail and F&B sectors.

On the theme of the session, he said, “we certainly don’t see technology replacing hospitality. If anything we see technology removing steps in service and barriers to free up time for restaurants to create a better experience through faster service and order accuracy.” These are particularly important in the airport space to create a “real win” for guests.

Livney underlined the power of industry partnership in reaching every guest. “Airport-wide mobile ordering is one the rise and it is working. These programmes create the opportunity for our ideal blend, giving guests the choice to use technology as they would like and for operators to continue to provide great hospitality.”

ARI-North America General Manager Jackie McDonagh described a future digital roadmap which integrates in-store “bricks and mortar” with online ecommerce and pre travel to offer a 360-degree experience. The need for the human experience will remain, she said.

She emphasised the opportunity for airports, retailers and brands to work together on digitalising the traveller’s experience and, with Livney, underlined the importance of sharing data to offer shoppers a tailored offer.

Dufry Chief Operating Officer South America Gustavo Fagundes noted the company’s heavy investment in digitalisation but emphasised the need for the “human touchpoint”.

Understanding the customer and the shopping experience is vital in providing the best service, he said. “Digitalisation is there to help us. The more we learn, the more we are able to add value. We still need our team. They are the heart of our business and our main relationship with the customer”.

You can view the full session here.

Designhouse’s Peter Dobie on finding brand power and identity in a new travel retail world

Designhouse Creative Director Peter Dobie was one of the highlights of day 2 of the Knowledge Hub at the Summit of the Americas — A Virtual Experience.

Dobie leads the creative team at London brand and digital design agency Designhouse, which is responsible for the successful rebrandings of 3Sixty Duty Free, Heathrow Express and Beauty & You, to name a few.

During his session, Dobie illustrated how travel retail stakeholders can leverage brand power and identity in the rapidly-changing world of travel retail.

Technology and branding go hand-in-hand in the new world of travel retail, said Dobie

Commenting on how the pandemic has changed the retail landscape, Dobie said: “When COVID-19 arrived, the music stopped. Or so we thought, before the penny dropped and we realised that in every crisis lies opportunity.”

“Now is the opportunity for brands to stop, assess their current setup and measure up for future innovations. 2020 was a transformative year for retail, offering a compelling case for a digital-first approach.”

While the embrace of all things digital certainly accelerated during the crisis, Dobie says that it is only half of the equation. “Technology is only half the story,” he said. “To successfully connect in the new digital channels, it’s not enough to simply have a presence. The brands that have seen the biggest benefit, have not only embraced new technologies but enhanced their brand through the user experience that they deliver.”

Designhouse also developed the striking brand identity and in-store look of The Shilla Duty Free’s Beauty & You concept at Hong Kong International Airport

So, what can travel retail do to effectively navigate a necessary digital transformation? According to Dobie, it’s all about collaboration and integration. “Across the industry, joined-up thinking is required to make the benefits more than just the sum of its parts,” he said.

Some of the key strategies Dobie mentioned include driving customer experiences through data platforms and personalisation, tracking traveller interactions at every touchpoint and integration with enterprise systems to make data available at the point of sale.

Click HERE for our full report.


What the travelling consumer wants when they return to travel – insights from The Points Guy

A highly recommended Knowledge Hub session took place this afternoon, in which Dermot Davitt discussed the much-changed needs and requirements of the traveller, and the prospects of travel recovery in the COVID-shaped world with Scott Mayerowitz, Executive Editorial Director of renowned US travel website, The Points Guy.

Here are some example views from Mayerowitz on what the travelling consumer will value and other key matters, from the session titled The Consumer Perspective of the Travel Experience Today & Tomorrow…

On when we might see the return of business travellers: “Folks are mostly not coming back on the road yet. You need people in offices to visit before you can make a sales call. You need restaurants open for dining before you can take a client out for drinks and dinner. I don’t think we’re quite there yet. Those who hated business travel but their bosses forced them to go will still have a good legitimate excuse for several months to avoid work trips. After the summer it will start to come back.” 

On the current consumer mindset for confidence to travel: “The stigma attached to travel is going to quickly erode away by the summer, as more and more people get vaccinated. As we get through the summer, people will feel much more comfortable with the idea of travelling.

Scott Mayerowitz (left), Executive Editorial Director of the US travel website, The Points Guy, gave his take on future travellers’ expectations to Dermot Davitt in a highly-entertaining Knowledge Hub session

On the confidence of people to shop inside airports: “There will be a mindset of I want to see things clean, and I want space. So take a typical shop in an airport… I think that traveller who comes into one wants to see things more spaced out. If they see that, they are going to feel much more comfortable than going into the traditional shop where every square metre was filled with merchandise. There needs to be psychological signal to travellers that says we’re not crowding people in, we’re making sure that you’re keeping a little bit of distance.”

On the confidence of people to dine in airports: “The last thing I want to do is approach a restaurant where there’s a giant line at the bar, or people waiting. I would much rather put my name down through an app or get a buzzer, and be able to distance myself from the restaurant and come back. Those are going to be the F&B businesses within the airport terminals that win back customers first.”

On the prospects of a cruise industry revival: “There are still some people who haven’t got their refunds from a year ago from sailings that were cancelled, and that’s left a really bad taste with consumers. So that needs to be the first phase of it, making sure these vouchers remain valid. It’s going to be probably the end of summer, if not early fall to see those cruise lines coming back at full capacity. You have these die-hard cruisers who will go anywhere and get on any sailing and are ready to go back. They just want to know there’s some steps out there to convince them that it’s safe.”

On airports winning back confidence: “I think things that feel clean, feel open and have space are going have a psychological impact on passengers. I think that the airports and the vendors inside them who have that open space sense in their establishments are going to come out as the winners. It’s maybe clearing out a few of those tables so I don’t feel as crowded and that I have to pass people. I just see a mentality of we can all cover things with plastic and put out hand sanitiser, but there are other psychological clues that are going to make us feel safe.”

This is just snapshot of an extremely insightful, entertaining conversation about the present and future traveller. If you are part of a customer-facing business in travel, it’s worth well worth your time watching it in full. Access the session by clicking here.


Fancy a Virtual Coffee Break?

Influencers, fashionistas and golf celebrities Nisha and Seema Sadekar are treating Summit of the Americas guests to a series of engaging Somrus Coffee breaks between Knowledge Hub sessions.

Join them as they cheerfully celebrate the rich coffee culture of several Americas countries.

Coffee with a touch of Somus? We dare you to say no…

Since its launch in March 2014, The House of Sōmrus, which is distributed in travel retail by Duty Free Global, has built a strong presence in selected US states.

The Moodie Davitt Report Founder Martin Moodie recently discussed the brand’s development – from a kitchen recipe – with The House of Sōmrus Creator Pankaj K (PK) Garg. It’s a fascinating tale, don’t miss it.


“Perfection is just the beginning”… Stoli Group puts Elit in the spotlight

The premium vodka is included Stoli Group’s diversified offer as the company, which has strategically expanded its portfolio to include rums, tequilas, mezcals and bourbons, gears up for recovery in 2021.

And if you are interesting in learning all about mezcal, a Se Busca Mezcal Virtual Tasting, led by Stoli Global Brand Ambassador Simone Bodini, will take place in the Engagement Lounge at 1200 EST tomorrow. To register click here.


Passionate, proud and driven: Essence Corp’s Jean-Jacques Bona welcomes Summit visitors

Essence Corp outlines its history, its brands and logistics and proudly introduces the family behind the company.

Its main goal at the Summit is to support both IAADFS and Asutil as it showcases 2021 fragrance launches such as Kate Spade, Versace Dylan Turquoise and Moschino Toy Bubble Gum.

A touch of The Kraken…and much more

Proximo Spirits welcomes visitors with a video of its impressive drinks line-up, which includes its standout “bizarre and fierce” The Kraken spiced rum.

Newcomers to the portfolio include a travel retail exclusive Bushmills 10 year old Sherry Cask Finish Irish whiskey, 1800 Cristalino tequila and Jose Cuervo Playamar hard seltzers in four flavours.

Championing safety and sustainability: SaniGo introduces biodegradable masks

SaniGo is taking a stand against single-use face masks and has added biodegradable masks to its line-up.

The personal protection specialist says its compostable single use masks offer the highest level of personal protection available on the market, without any danger of adding to the problems of plastic pollution.

SaniGo’s full range is featured on-stand along with its ability to customise products.

“Born 1856 with the Pony Express”

McCormick Distilling Company underlines its heritage as the oldest distillery west of the Mississippi still operating in its original location.

It’s proud of its past and proud of its present portfolio which includes Tarantula tequila-based liqueur and ready-to-drink margarita, “love at first taste” strawberry cream liqueur Tequila Rose and 360 Vodka.

Broker’s gin boasts “no frills, no bells and whistles and no peculiar ingredients, just a bowler hat” with Five Farms Irish cream liqueur, Hussong’s Tequila and Platte Valley corn whisky completing the McCormick line-up.

Adding Mexican favourites: AGPCH presents a mezcal trio

Mezcal producer and distributor Casa AGP (AGPCH) is looking to extend its footprint in the Americas with three brands – El Recuerdo, Zignum and Señorio – which target different markets.

El Recuerdo boasts a very well-known owner, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal. And AGPCH is quick to introduce him to stand visitors.


0730 (EST)

Make sure to take the opportunity to visit the many curated, premium environments developed by our partners in the Exhibition Hub this week. Here is a selection of the individually designed booths created by Stand & Experience Partner FILTR.QINGWA.

6 APRIL: 0525 (EST)

The stage is set for day two at the Summit of the Americas, with another strong set of Knowledge Hub sessions planned, to complement the premium Exhibition Hub and activities in the Engagement Lounge.

We will lead off at 0900 US Eastern time with what promises to be a fascinating discussion with Dallas Fort Worth International Airport CEO Sean Donohue about recovery in the US travel and airports business, and why DFW Airport believes it makes good business sense to help its concessionaires emerge in robust shape and ready for the upturn.

We will also feature sessions on the consumer view of the travel experience today; how we as an industry can blend humanisation and digitalisation; branding our sector and the latest travel data from the Americas.

For more details or to sign up for the Knowledge Hub sessions, click here.


“The rules of engagement must change”: Americas travel retailers speak out on airport concession contract issues

A compelling session involving a strong panel from Americas travel retail earlier today saw a united call for a change in contract relationships between airport and retailer in the face of COVID-19.

Participating in a live interview with Dermot Davitt, under the theme Road to Recovery: The Retailer Perspective, were 3Sixty Chief Operations Officer Alex Anson-Esparza, Motta Internacional Senior Vice President Aurelio Barria and Dufry General Manager Sub-Cluster South America Enrique Urioste.

The three panellists were in clear agreement that while temporary relief measures granted by airports on Minimum Annual Guarantees (MAG) have been welcome, a new model must quickly emerge and stay in place for the longer term, not just for the height of the pandemic crisis.

Anson said: “I think the biggest risk that we have in the next three years – other than the inherent COVID risks – is that some airport commercial departments will see the positive evolution of domestic traffic as an enabler to go back to the rents that were being charged to duty free retailers in the international environment, which we all know cannot happen.

Discussing airport-retailer contract issues in the Americas are, clockwise from top right, Dermot Davitt, Enrique Urioste, Alex Anson-Esparza and Aurelio Barria

“There’s been lot of agreed rent reliefs throughout the industry in 2020 and in 2021. I think critically, we need to be working with our airport partners to make sure those remain in place until the traffic does come back to similar levels to 2019. If some airports think that they can revert back to historical rents before this traffic, it could spell a crisis for many travel retail operators.”

Speaking of the airport-retailer relationship, Urioste said: “Together we have to reinvent this”. He continued: “We will have to go back to a model where we share the success of the business coming back together. I think that the new world is going to be about risk sharing. The airport delivers the number of passengers, we commit to extract X amount of money for passengers delivered… a MAG per pax basis.

“I don’t know if I am being too optimistic… but I think that this model is a fair model. It’s a model that during the crisis has been in place in the vast majority of airports. And it’s the way that I think that the future will take us.”

Barria also emphasised the need for a revision in contract structures: “We have to change the rules of engagement. Definitely, we can no longer work with the same conditions that we had before. When we originally met to discuss the contracts, we were given an estimation of passengers for the time of concession for ten years with an annual growth of 6-7%.

“Now, it’s going to take many years to even come back to those projections, and in some cases we will not even see that during the concession contract period.”

He added: “I agree that we have to have a relationship paying a variable percentage [of sales to the airport], according to the levels of passengers that we have. But we can no longer pay MAGs at the level we agreed to pay when we started the relationship.”

More from the panellists on this key subject, and other major issues facing Americas travel retail, will appear in an in-depth article on The Moodie Davitt Report website tomorrow.


‘Journeys are better together’: Ferrero’s cute Kinder brand ambassadors claim the Summit spotlight

Ferrero Travel Retail is focusing on best-sellers at the show, intent on offering a win-win strategy for both the trade and travellers.

New Kinder treats are highlighted as Brand Ambassadors Milky and Schoki declare ‘journeys are better together’ while Nutella presents an exclusive new look for travel retail and TicTac Travels extends its communication platform to include a new floor stand.


“The time to elevate the sales profession to a whole new level has come”

Heidi Van Roon extends a personal welcome to visitors to the Spark Group of Companies stand, underlining the need for brands, retailers and agencies to align sales and promotional programmes.

The Spark team is looking to discuss key sales and HR issues as it reveals its Brand Partner Program, tailor-made to fit the needs of a new era in travel retail.

1200 EST (US Eastern Time)


And so to the brand perspective and another stellar panel, this time featuring:

  • Hershey International Chief Commercial Officer William Pritchett
  • Essence Corp Vice President Sales TR North & South America Antoine Bona/ Vice President Sales Caribbean Guillaume Bona
  • Bacardi Global Travel Retail Global Head of Marketing Ignacio Vázquez

Things kicked off with some intriguing findings from a recent Hershey International study into consumer behaviour. Here are some of the highlights. Click charts to enlarge.

Cautiously optimistic: Essence Corp Vice President Sales TR North & South America Antoine Bona and Vice President Sales Caribbean Guillaume Bona underlined their commitment to the channel and their belief in its future but say leisure travel will be quicker to recover than business travel.

Bacardi Global Travel Retail Global Head of Marketing Ignacio Vázquez noted that the impact of the pandemic on the drinks sector had been “humongous” but said that Bacardi’s family ownership had helped it retain a long-term view of the travel retail channel. Knowing your consumer will be critical he said. Premiumisation will accelerate, as will no and low alcohol consumption, and a focus on sustainability will be important than ever.

1115  EST (US Eastern Time)


Good to see some of the most senior retailers and buyers in attendance today, despite it being Easter Monday

1045  EST (US Eastern Time)


Loacker introduces ‘six worlds of pleasure’

First-time Summit of the Americas exhibitor Loacker is out to ‘share the goodness’ of its wafers and chocolate treats with visitors. The family-owned Italian company is showcasing new confectionery innovations that it hopes will resonate with audiences in the Americas.

Leading its line-up is a ‘one pack – six worlds of pleasure’ Classic Wafers Big Mix Pack, which features six packs of best-loved flavours Napolitaner, Cremkakao, Vanille, Milk, Cocoa&Milk and Double Choc.

And if that’s no enough to make your mouth water, there are other treats in store for visitors to the Loacker stand.

Lego Travel Retail introduces the ‘Masters of Reinvention’

LEGO Group is putting creativity first as it underlines its strong family ties [The Danish company is still owned by the Kirk Kristiansen family who founded it in 1932] and the fact that its original bricks still fit today.

LEGO presents a strong sustainability programme, targeting the end of single use plastic in packaging by 2025. It also highlights its mission to bring learning through play to eight million children each year.


1030 EST (US Eastern Time)

After a very strong start to the Knowledge Hub programme, attention moves to what should be a compelling and informative session themed Road to Recovery: The Retailer Perspective. It features a trio of highly experienced and much-respected industry executives.
  • 3Sixty Chief Operations Officer Alex Anson
  • Motta Internacional Senior Vice President Aurelio Barria
  • Dufry General Manager Sub-Cluster South America Enrique Urioste

Full report to follow.

0915 EST (US Eastern Time)

The CEO Chair: Corporación América Airports’ Martín Eurnekian on reopening the industry

Corporación América Airports CEO Martín Eurnekian proved a star early turn at the Knowledge Hub of the Summit of the Americas — A Virtual Experience.

In a compelling one-on-one interview with The Moodie Davitt Report President and Editorial Director Dermot Davitt, Eurnekian discussed both the short-term and lasting consequences of COVID-19 on his business and the wider aviation industry. He also offered a deeply insightful view on how recovery will take shape in 2021 and beyond.

Asked what travel retail can do to adapt to the new normal and restart the industry, Eurnekian stressed the importance of transparency and collaboration. He said, “We have to come to terms with the fact that this [health issue] is here to stay. We have to start developing systems that can leverage technology to enhance safety and restart travel.”

“We are in uncharted territory here,” he added. “We’re working with the information we have and putting a lot of hope into vaccines. In an asymmetric way, these programmes will eventually restart international travel.”

Eurnekian says that existing travel restrictions are disproportionate to the risk, and lack a coordinated approach between governments

However, Eurnekian also believes that the industry should take affirmative action beyond simply putting its faith in the global vaccination programmes. He commented, “We also need to think of a plan B. As an industry, we need to communicate with governments and develop a coordinated approach.”

Eurnekian explained that one of ACI World’s key priorities is to find ways to work with governments for a restart. Key to this, he said, is to remove the negative stigma on travel. “So many restrictive measures were placed on the travel industry that are disproportionate to the real risk today. The virus is already all over the world. We now know how it behaves and how to test it. Our priority at ACI World is to collaborate with governments and other stakeholders to develop new systems to allow the industry to restart.”

Click here to read the full story 

0900 EST (US Eastern Time)

A power-packed and compelling Knowledge Hub programme is now underway at the Virtual Summit to complement activities in the Exhibition Hub.

Following opening remarks by The Moodie Davitt Report Chairman Martin Moodie and President Dermot Davitt, IAADFS Chairman René Riedi delivered the official welcome, underlining the gravity of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Without a doubt, the COVID-19 crisis has had a profound impact on the aviation, tourism and travel retail sectors in the Americas,” he began. “To give you an idea about the magnitude of the crisis, here’s some figures. The World Tourism Organization estimates that the economic impact on tourism worldwide is around US$910 billion and impact on the global GDP due to tourism between 1.5% and 2.8%.

“It is further estimated that between 100 million and 120 million direct tourism jobs are affected. And the crisis is not over yet. Although many countries have successfully started vaccinating their people, the industry is still facing a confluence of uncertainties.”

Riedi applauded the virtual initiative of this year’s Summit and urged visitors to participate in and support the event. “You are just a couple of clicks away from great stuff happening,” he concluded.

Click on the YouTube icon below to view his full presentation.

He was followed by a compelling one-to-one interview conducted by Davitt with Corporación America Airports CEO (and ACI World Chair) Martín Eurnekian [Details coming soon].

0640 EST (US Eastern Time)


The Moodie Davitt Report is delighted to play a lead role in supporting our key trade associations through key events such as the Summit of the Americas. We also work closely with the Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association (APTRA) in organising The APAC Dialogue webinar series, helping to inform APTRA’s membership and raise critical revenues for the association. It’s good to see APTRA President Sunil Tuli (now in Singapore) in attendance (virtually of course) at the Summit and supporting his fellow trade associations.

0430 EST (US Eastern Time)


Barry Geoghegan’s Duty Free Global is making a welcome return to the virtual format after a highly successful showing at the Virtual Travel Retail Expo last October.

The elegant and interactive Duty Free Global virtual stand is showcasing an eclectic line-up of brands, including Mob33 Gold Heist Premium Rum, Beau Joie Champagne, Gunpowder Irish Gin, House of  Sōmrus, Death’s Door Gin and RumChata.

On the eve of the Summit, The Moodie Davitt Report Chairman Martin Moodie spoke to House of  Sōmrus founder PK Garg. Inspired by the flavours of an inflight dessert from his Indian homeland, Garg set about creating a world-class, highly distinctive cream liqueur in his  kitchen. It’s an extraordinary story which you can read here.

Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin has always attended the physical version of the Summit of the Americas. It is good to see him and his team also supporting the virtual equivalent.

0300 EST (US Eastern Time)

The Summit of the Americas – A Virtual Experience is now live. After many months of build-up and hard work by co-hosts IAADFS, ASUTIL and The Moodie Davitt Report, in partnership with FILTR.QINGWA, this all-digital event for the Americas region has begun.

Stay tuned for live updates from the virtual Exhibition Hub, Knowledge Hub and Engagement Lounge throughout the week from The Moodie Davitt Report team.

Almost as good as being there: The vibrant environment (above) that exhibitors and visitors will first encounter this week at the all-digital event while the images below offer a taste of what lies within