Ivy Wong, Senior Vice President, Airside Concessions, Changi Airport
As the Senior Vice President, Airside Concessions Division of Changi Airport Group (CAG) in Singapore, Ivy has the satisfaction of being involved in one of the most successful travel retail operations in Asia. With a remit that includes strategic planning, space development, leasing, operations and promotions for all retail, food & beverage and services on the airport’s airside, how does she find time for any leisure pursuits? Here she provides some insight to her world.
Strategic planning is one of your strengths but has your own education and career to date followed a pre-determined path?
A career in aviation and travel retail was actually an unexpected path. My educational background has been in logistics and operations, and in fact, that was how my stint in aviation got kick-started. The subsequent move into the commercial aspect of the airport business was an outcome of interest and opportunity granted.
Which aspect of your job do you enjoy most?
Developing the business and my team, as well as building relationships with all our partners.
Of which career achievements are you most proud?
Well, aside from double-digit growth in our business over the past few years, it would have to be the building up and evolution of my team, as we journeyed from operating as a government statutory board to a commercial entity due to the corporatisation of Changi Airport in 2009.
In what way do you believe that APTRA can make a difference in the duty free & travel retail industry in Asia and what your priorities for the Association – and retailers within it – in the future?
I think APTRA can bring together the different stakeholders in the industry and represent a stronger voice on issues affecting this industry. Without a representative body, efforts by individual parties to tackle common issues and development in the industry can often be uncoordinated and disjointed, and its effect unfortunately gets dissipated as a result. APTRA has an important role in bridging this gap.
Asia is a fast growing region with many emerging countries and consumer segments. APTRA can play an active role in market research to help share and cascade knowledge across the industry so that the travel retail industry can learn how to serve these new customers better.
Air transport infrastructure in Asia is being developed at a rapid pace in anticipation of continuing growth in passenger numbers. Do you see any clouds on this rosy horizon?
I believe in the long-term fundamentals of this industry, especially in Asia, with the boom of the middle class consumer segment. However, along that journey, the industry is likely to continue to be susceptible to macro-economic factors given the higher volatility and shorter economic cycles experienced nowadays. As such, being well prepared for business contingency and continuity is key to long term success.
With such a busy professional life, how do you spend your leisure time?
My leisure time is mostly dedicated to my family. As a family, we catch up on quality bonding time over daily meals and weekend outings. In between, I try to slot in some ‘me’ or ‘us’ time for myself and with my husband.