INTERNATIONAL. Welcome to the MEADFA Guide, the official publication that accompanies this week’s Middle East & Africa Duty Free Conference in Dubai.
The rescheduled event takes place amid a time of change and challenge in the region. The industry faces perennial obstacles to business, from regional conflict to terror attacks to currency fluctuation. Uncertainty also comes in the form of strict hand baggage rules among many airlines in the Gulf, in restrictive tobacco legislation and in the question of how new excise duty and VAT rules will play out in the Gulf.
Yet even against that backdrop, the Middle East and Africa region is one of promise and opportunity for travel retail. The strong attendance numbers at every MEADFA Conference underline the faith that delegates and their companies have in the future. And a glance at the big projects taking shape today highlights why the years ahead can be even brighter.
The UAE is already home to the world’s biggest airport for international passenger traffic – Dubai International – with the spectacular Al Maktoum International Airport up and running and into its latest expansion phase. In Abu Dhabi, commercial at the Midfield Terminal Building is pledged to be “spectacular, sensational and exceptional” once it opens.
Muscat International’s new terminal, set to open soon, will feature a retail and dining offer to rival any airport of its scale; Bahrain Airport is plotting its own ambitious new terminal; and the pipeline for new space at Saudi Arabia’s airports (led by Jeddah later this year) looks exciting.
It’s not just about the big airport locations. Hamila Duty Free will break new ground with the first Tunisian border store this year. Iraq Duty Free is investing for the future in Baghdad and other airports following a contract extension. Flemingo, Dufry, Tourvest and Gebr Heinemann are all progressing plans for expansion in Africa as that regional market awakes. You can read about these projects and more besides in this special report.
Please enjoy the MEADFA Guide with our compliments.