FRANCE. The TFWA has revealed the final figures for attendance at the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference, with a sharp rise in the number of travel retailers, a key category essential to the event’s success.

Further to the figures reported earlier this week, the TFWA confirmed operator and landlord numbers were up +6% compared to 2016 at 2,262. They represented 642 companies, a similar number to last year’s figure.

Walking tall: There were 514 exhibiting companies in 2017 (+4.5%), across 490 stands

Overall, 6,812 visitors attended the event, an increase of +6% on last year. They represented a total of 3,031 companies, up +2% from 2,948 in 2016. The number of agents was down slightly at 2,391 from 1,127 companies a -4% decrease versus 2016 — a disappointing turnout as President Erik Juul-Mortensen mentioned during the closing press conference last Friday. “It is clear the number has been affected by the mid-autumn holiday in Korea, but we will analyse this further,” he stated.

TFWA’s new Digital Village was a talking point of the show, and it made an encouraging debut, attracting 33 exhibitors, and 1,361 visitors (1,487 including exhibitors).

The exhibition occupied a total of 22,607sq m, up +0.6% compared to 2016 when the exhibition extended to 22,475sq m. This year there were 514 exhibiting companies compared to 492 companies in 2016 (+4.5%), across 490 stands compared with 472 stands last year (+3.8%). This includes 16 official boats in Harbour Village, and 63 exhibitors who were new or returning companies.

The ONE2ONE meeting service was once again a great success, and for the main show 302 pre-arranged meetings were scheduled compared to 220 last year (+38%). For the TFWA Digital Village, 163 pre-arranged meetings were planned.

The conference at the beginning of the week was attended by a record 1,643 participants. There was ‘standing room’ only when 237 early risers came to the Digital Focus Workshop on Monday, compared to 153 attendees at the comparable event in 2016, and 145 attendees in 2015.

Keynote speakers invited to join the TFWA President on stage included former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; former President of Ireland Mary Robinson; and Editor-at-Large of Wired UK magazine David Rowan.

On Wednesday morning, the Inflight Focus Workshop was attended by 195 delegates compared with 174 last year. An audience of 54 came to a workshop outlining TFWA’s latest research findings on non-shoppers and the fast-growing East Asian cruise retail market on Wednesday evening.

A new addition to the programme, TFWA Digital Village Ideas Lab, was attended by 93 people on Friday morning.

As ever, the social events surrounding the exhibition and conference were a resounding success. Runners and walkers numbering 106 took part in the TFWA Charity Run along the La Croisette with all proceeds raised going to SAMU Social of Cannes, a charity which helps the homeless and needy.

The golf tournament, hosted with support from Estée Lauder, saw with 91 participants teeing off this year. Joining the regatta courtesy of Paul & Shark were 38 delegates, while 31 people enjoyed a yoga session on the Majestic Hotel jetty courtesy of Rituals and 84 players competed in the pétanque. All numbers were up, and next year TFWA will be reviewing its plans so that it can accommodate more people.

The Opening Cocktail at The Carlton Beach on Sunday welcomed 1,642 guests, the finale of which was a spectacular firework display, courtesy of the City of Cannes.

The first TFWA Digital Village Opening Cocktail at The Majestic on Tuesday was very well attended, with 230 guests. The final event of the week was the Le Premium Evening where 824 people were entertained by the Véronic DiCaire. The Scene remained a popular venue, attracting more people than in previous years.

Commenting on the visual campaign celebrating 70 years of duty free this year, Juul-Mortensen said that it was “an excellent way to convey to travellers and opinion-formers around the world the importance of duty free and travel retail. The support from various airports and operators has been extremely encouraging and we look forward to welcoming more to join this very important campaign.”