NORDIC REGION. The annual Nordic Travel Retail Seminar took place on 8 June onboard Tallink Group’s Silja Serenade vessel, in dock in Stockholm. The event, organised by the Nordic Travel Retail Group (NTRG), attracted over 115 industry delegates.
The seminar was opened by NTRG Chairperson Haakon Dagestad of Travel Retail Norway, who issued the clear message that “travel retail is back”. He said that the sector has changed post-COVID-19, but that the crisis has taught the industry to adapt more quickly to modern consumers’ needs.
This message was echoed by speakers through the day, under the seminar’s main theme ‘The Travel Retail Environment: After-care, Reigniting and Enhancing the experience’. The sessions were moderated by European Travel Retail Confederation Secretary General Julie Lassaigne.
Former Prime Minister of Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt provided participants with perspectives on international trade and global politics. He said that the liberal world is “severely threatened” by the global trend of authoritative regimes with essentially undemocratic leaders. He did however highlight positive signals in the global reaction to Russian aggression in Ukraine. Reinfeldt concluded that we need to “stand strong and enforce free and fair international trade”.
Peter Mohn of m1nd-set provided delegates with details of a new collaboration between NTRG and the research agency. Until 2025 NTRG members will receive quarterly updates on consumer behaviour in the airport and ferry categories.
A panel session involving Aurinkomatkat CEO Timo Kousa, Rituals Global Travel Retail Director Melvin Broekaart, Viking Line Head of Retail Operations Mats Kotka and Pernod Ricard General Manager Travel Retail EMEA, Americas & Pacific Antonio Duva reflected on recent positive momentum in the channel.
While the number of travellers remains well behind 2019 levels, they noted that customer spend has risen, especially in the luxury categories. The panel agreed that the industry will not return to the ‘old normal’ but that this will ultimately be better for consumers and for the wider business.
In his closing keynote, Professor Micael Dahlén from the Stockholm School of Economics said that ‘normal is overrated’. He made the case that normal is “another word for square and nobody wants to be square”. He added: “If we are flexible and adapt to the situation in our own way we will achieve happiness going forward.”