MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA. The Middle East & Africa Duty Free Association (MEADFA) Board has postponed the annual MEADFA Conference due to the political uncertainty in Lebanon and the region. The event was due to take place on 20-21 November.
But MEADFA has confirmed that it will be rescheduled to take place in the first quarter of 2018, at a date and venue to be confirmed shortly.
Delegate fees will be reimbursed in full to all registered delegates, unless they instruct MEADFA to retain their payment against participation at the conference in early 2018.
MEADFA President Haitham al Majali said: “This has not been an easy decision to make, especially given the wonderful support we have received from our friends and partners in Lebanon during the planning for this year’s event. However, the first responsibility of the MEADFA Board with regard to our conference is to guarantee the security of our delegates, and we feel that the current situation obliges us, with the greatest regret, to take this step.
“On behalf of MEADFA, I would like to extend my sincere and heartfelt thanks to His Excellency Avedis Guidanian, Minister of Tourism for the Republic of Lebanon, for his unwavering support of this event, which I hope will return to Lebanon in the near future. We would also like to thank our friends and partners at Beirut Duty Free and Aphrodite Duty Free for all they have done in helping us plan the conference. We understand that this decision will be a considerable disappointment to them, but hope that we will have the opportunity to work together again in future.”
He added: “I would also like to thank all our sponsors for the MEADFA Conference 2017 and hope that we will be able to rely on their support as we go forward. Also, I must thank our world-class line-up of speakers, who I very much hope to see at a future MEADFA Conference. Finally, my thanks to the nearly 400 delegates who had planned to attend this event. We hope to see you at the rescheduled MEADFA Conference early next year.
“Important though the MEADFA Conference is, both to the regional duty free & travel retail industry and to MEADFA itself, our first thoughts now are with the people of Lebanon, and with the stability and prosperity of our region. We have the utmost faith in the resilience of our people, of our businesses and of our industry, as we face this latest challenge.”