MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA. Welcome to the digital edition of the Official MEADFA Guide, the publication that accompanies this week’s Middle East & Africa Duty Free Conference in Muscat, produced by The Moodie Davitt Report. Hard copies will be available for delegates at the event.
MEADFA 2019 takes place against the backdrop of political and economic uncertainty in the Middle East, with the International Monetary Fund citing “volatile oil prices, geopolitical tensions and domestic vulnerabilities in some countries” as potential risk factors as we approach 2020.
However, the fundamentals for travel retail – travel and tourism – remain broadly positive.
Airport passenger traffic in the Middle East climbed by +2% year-on-year to the end of August, and by an impressive +7.1% in Africa in the same timeframe. Regional tourism figures, another key barometer, are even healthier. In the first half of 2019, the Middle East (+8%) led global tourism arrivals growth by region, with Africa at a more moderate +3%.
That’s the big picture as the MEADFA Conference begins in Oman, which is one of the most exciting aviation growth markets in the region. It features a fast-expanding national carrier (Oman Air) and a spectacular new airport in place since last year, with a much-enhanced retail offer from Muscat Duty Free (the conference host this week) at its heart.
Investment continues elsewhere in the region’s major travel retail markets. In 2019 we have seen the opening of Casablanca Airport’s new Terminal 1; Bahrain Airport is nearing completion on its own ambitious new terminal, with further airport infrastructure expansion set for 2020 in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.
Set alongside these the many store openings and upgrades planned by Dufry, ARI, Dubai Duty Free, Qatar Duty Free, Iraq Duty Free, IDFS Morocco and others – many of them featured in the pages of our Guide – and there is good reason to be upbeat about the business in the Middle East and Africa today.
Welcome to this digital edition of the Official MEADFA Guide, which we hope you find rich and informative in content, and above all, enjoyable.