ASIA PACIFIC. The Tax Free World Association (TFWA) has confirmed the speaker and workshop line-up for the upcoming Asia Pacific Conference & Exhibition in Singapore, based around the theme of “˜Striving for Perfection’.

Taking place at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Center in Singapore from 12 to 16 May, the event’s keynote speakers in the plenary session will be the former Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, Diageo President Asia Pacific Gilbert Ghostine, China National Economic Research Institute Director and China Reform Foundation Chairman Dr Fan Gang and TFWA President Erik Juul-Mortensen.

The conference and workshops will be held on Monday 13 May from 08:30 to 17:30, while the three-day exhibition will open at 09.30 on Tuesday 14 May.

Other speakers will include:

– APTRA President and King Power Group (HK) Managing Director Sunil Tuli, who will update delegates on the challenges to growth faced by the regional industry today and how industry associations are working together to drive the business forward.

– Counter Intelligence Retail Managing Director Garry Stasiulevicuis, who will present highlights of the report commissioned by TFWA into “˜non-shoppers’ with his conclusions on the main barriers to purchase among today’s travelling consumers.

– KPMG Principal Business Development Anson Bailey, who will discuss the conclusions of another report, Global Reach of China Luxury, which was published earlier this year. The study assessed the growing importance of the travelling Chinese consumer to premium brands worldwide and includes case studies from some key suppliers.

TFWA Vice President Thom Rankin said: “TFWA has put together what we feel is an excellent programme for the plenary and workshop sessions at TFWA Asia Pacific Conference & Exhibition this year.

“The line-up of speakers will challenge and inspire delegates who are aspiring to achieve perfection in duty free and travel retail in Asia Pacific and beyond.”

Taking place between the opening and closing plenary sessions will be a choice of four workshops on topical issues led by experts in the field:

Workshop A – Perfect Journey will look at how store design, terminal layout, retail branding and better communication can ensure retail is an essential component of the traveller’s journey. The speakers will be Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad Senior General Manager of Commercial Services Faizah Khairuddin, Duty Free Philippines Chief Operating Officer Lorenzo C. Formoso and William Grant & Sons Global Marketing Manager Ian Taylor.

Workshop B – Perfect Pitch will focus on how an integrated, partnership-based approach to engaging the customer between different stakeholders can enhance the retail proposition. Leading the discussion will be Changi Airport Group Airside Concessions Division Assistant Vice President Monet S. Aluquin, Heinemann Asia Pacific CEO Steffen Brandt and L’Oréal Luxe Travel Retail Asia Pacific Managing Director Eva Yu.

Workshop C – e-Perfect will analyse the rich marketing opportunities that the latest digital and social media represent to premium brands and the retailers who sell them. The panel will include Sticki Digital Media CEO Stephenie Rodriguez, Dragon Trail Co-founder & President Jens Thraenhart, Patrón Spirits International President, International and Chief Operating Officer John McDonnell and Incheon International Airport Corporation Head of Consulting Sang J. Ahn.

Workshop D – Perfection Personified will focus on the “˜human touch’, exploring how innovative staff training and human resources programmes are ensuring that the industry’s ambassadors in store or inflight can serve each customer more effectively. The expert line-up will be Dubai Duty Free Recruitment & Employee Development Manager Rachael Green, DFASS Group Deputy Chairman and President Asia Pacific John Garner, Sydney Airport General Manager Retail Andrew Gardiner and TravConsult Managing Director Trevor Lee.

In addition to the plenary and workshop sessions, TFWA will host an Industry Association Working Lunch, at which invited delegates will be updated on the latest regulatory and other challenges facing the duty free and travel retail industry in Asia Pacific and beyond. This session will be closed to the press.

Contributors to this session will include TFWA President Erik Juul-Mortensen, APTRA President Sunil Tuli, ETRC President Sarah Branquinho and MEADFA President Sean Staunton. Meanwhile, the Working Lunch will be moderated by APTRA Executive Officer Michael Barrett.

The opening and closing plenary sessions will be moderated by TFWA Conference, Research and External Affairs Director John Rimmer and Thoughtful China Presenter Trevor Lai. The workshop sessions will be chaired by The Moodie Report Vice Chairman and Editorial Director Dermot Davitt, Travel Retail Advisor John Sutcliffe, Travel Retail Business Editorial Director Doug Newhouse and Duty-Free News International Publisher Amanda Felix.

Registration for the TFWA Asia Pacific Conference & Exhibition is open at until 18th April.