MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA. The 2018 Middle East & Africa Duty Free Association (MEADFA) Conference will be held under the patronage of H.E. Mr. Saad Hariri, Lebanese President of the Council of Ministers.

Managed by the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) and hosted by Beirut Duty Free, MEADFA 2018 will take place at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut, Lebanon, on 19-20 November.

“Great amount of interest”: MEADFA President Haitham Al Majali previewed the upcoming MEADFA event during the TFWA World Exhibition.

The support of H.E Mr Hariri was confirmed at a press conference held in Beirut on 12 September, hosted by MEADFA President Haitham Al Majali and H.E. Mr Avedis Guidanian, the Lebanese Minister of Tourism.

Speaking at the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes today (3 October), Al Majali said he was expecting more than 400 delegates to attend the event. He noted that the government had reassured the association about safety and security in the city.

Elie Saab Group Chairman and President Elie Saab will be the guest of honour at MEADFA 2018. Phoenicia AerRianta Company Chairman and pioneer of the Middle Eastern duty free industry Mohamed Zeidan will also be in attendance, as well as Middle East Airlines Chairman-Director General Mohamad El-Hout.

The conference will explore themes such as the emergence of new customer profiles and consumption habits in the Middle East, and the outlook for aviation and travel retail in Africa.

The MEADFA Board supported staging the 2018 event in Lebanon, despite the rescheduling of the 2017 event due to unrest. The Lebanese government has reassured the association about safety and security in Beirut.

The MEADFA 2018 social programme includes the Welcoming Cocktail, sponsored by Aphrodite Sarl, and the Gala Dinner, hosted by Beirut Duty Free. In partnership with Al Awael Travel and Tourism, MEADFA is also offering delegates the opportunity to visit Lebanon’s many sites of historic interest on tours before and after the conference.

MEADFA 2018 sponsors are: Japan Tobacco International, Mazaya, Jordanian Duty Free Shops, Dubai Duty Free, Al Fakher, Kings Tobacco International, Aer Rianta International Middle East, Castania, Dufry, Lagardère Travel Retail, Imperial Tobacco, Ouzo of Plomari, Oris, Tourvest Inflight Retail Services, Nestle International Travel Retail, International Duty Free Shops Morocco, Interworld Duty Free Lebanon, Haribo Group, Denizen, Capi, Hershey’s, Majani and Zalatimo.

“The MEADFA Board is hugely grateful to H.E. Saad Hariri, Lebanese President of the Council of Ministers for his patronage of our conference, and to H.E. Avedis Guidanian, the Minister of Tourism, for his unwavering support,” said Al Majali.

“We are delighted to be able to finally bring the MEADFA Conference to the historic city of Beirut, which will provide the perfect backdrop to debate the current issues influencing trade in the Middle East and Africa. As our conference in Dubai last year proved, there is a great amount of interest in the region and the growth opportunities within it. We are expecting another great turnout from our friends and partners in Lebanon and beyond.”

TFWA President Erik Juul-Mortensen commented: “TFWA has been involved in the organisation of the MEADFA Conference since its inception nearly 17 years ago, and we are delighted to be bringing the event to Beirut for the first time. The city is one of the most important hubs of the region and a vital centre for business. Not only that, but Lebanese hospitality and cuisine are renowned throughout the world. For all these reasons we are confident that this year’s MEADFA Conference will prove another successful and memorable event.”

Pre-registration for the show is now open and will close on 8 November 2018. Click here for more information.