In the spotlight: Sunil Tuli

Sunil Tuli, Managing Director (Duty Free) King Power Group Hong Kong

Meet Sunil


Sunil Tuli is Managing Director, Travel Retail and Duty Free, King Power Group (Hong Kong). He is a founder member of APTRA and was President from 2007-2013; he remains an active member of the Board.

China is at the heart of Asia’s impressive economic growth and the King Power Group has been a pioneer in this market. In Asia the first-mover advantage is essential, coupled with ambition, the right networks and an eye for market demand and the best opportunities. The King Power Group, with over 30 years’ experience in Asia, is unrivalled in its reach, experience and success.

Would you describe briefly your career path and how you became involved in the duty free industry?

I started my career in India as a tea planter. After six years of that, I worked in a fashion retail company in Delhi for two years. At the age of 27 I joined ITDC in India, running duty free for five airports. I was picked up by the then Weitnauer (now Dufry) to run the business in Singapore and subsequently Asia Pacific and Middle East. I have been with King Power since 2003.

What is the extent of your company’s reach within Asia and beyond?

China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia for travel retail. Through projects and brand ownerships, in which I am directly involved, also Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific etc.

What is the growth strategy in travel retail of your company?

Broadly speaking, to continue to get concessions, and to keep growing wherever it makes sense to do so. Also we aim to run our business responsibly.

What do you consider to be your finest achievements in a professional capacity?

Professionally, many; but I’m not going to talk about those. Besides the job, what I am proud about is being one of the small group who conceived the idea of APTRA, formed it, and then being involved as President for six years. We brought it to where it is today and I am pleased to see it is now being run very capably by Jaya and the fantastic team.

As regards APTRA, of which you were President for 6 years, of which development are you most proud?

There are none of which I am not proud. Obviously the greatest thing is having a strong board and membership base, people and companies totally committed to the cause of the industry.

How do you see your continuing role as a board member of APTRA?

I gave up my Presidency, not my commitment to the industry. APTRA will always have my full support in whatever capacity it needs me to serve it.

The duty free & travel retail industry faces challenges on several fronts. On which should attention be focused most closely at this point?

Well, obviously tobacco is a major issue, and I have spoken on this subject at various forums. Liquor could be next. This underlines the importance of the responsible retailing initiative and the code of conduct which we launched at the King Power stores at Macau Airport. We also need to keep an eye out for free trade agreements between countries in our region.

Are you optimistic about the industry’s future?

I’m not planning to go anywhere else, and yes, that’s because I am optimistic about the industry’s future.

Could you allow us some insight to your personal life – your leisure activities and your family?

I have been married for 31 years to my wife, Shikha. We have two fantastic kids, a son and a daughter, and I have just become a father-in-law. We have a dog called Cassius, a boxer. My leisure activities include golf and the Travel Retail Friendship Club.

India allowances

India allowances

As reported recently in the trade press, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced in the Indian Union budget that the government will cut by half the inbound allowance for travelers entering India from 200 cigarettes per person to 100 sticks. The move, which is part of the newly elected government’s health drive, will create severe disruption to sales due to the inexistence of corresponding packaging. As APTRA President Jaya Singh reported to the press, the decision was made with no consultation with any industry stakeholders. APTRA is in discussions with retailers and suppliers to prepare the industry engagement with the Indian government in a bid to obtain a reversal of the decision.

On a more positive note, the government announced in the budget that the personal allowance will be increased from 35 000 to 45 000 Rupees but no change to the liquor allowance was made. APTRA had been advocating an increase of up to 60 000 Rupees personal allowance and an increase in the liquor allowance from 2 litres to 4 litres.

Indian government remains firm on labelling

Indian government remains firm on labelling

Also in India, industry stakeholders and APTRA continue to work together to press the new government to give the duty free industry an exemption from the domestic rules on labelling and sampling of food and alcohol products. The Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recently wrote to APTRA in response to the industry association’s request for an exemption, rejecting the bid.

A meeting was held mid-June with the Indian duty free stakeholders – airport authorities, retailers and suppliers – organised by APTRA and hosted by Delhi Duty Free. At the meeting, the industry stakeholders deliberated on the matter and collectively agreed to work together on engaging with the Indian government to obtain the exemption by demonstrating to the newly elected government both the importance of the duty free sector to the Indian economy and the unique position adopted by the FSSAI in comparison to all other markets throughout the region. Engagement continues and any change in the situation will be reported immediately to all concerned members.

Asia Pacific consumer insights report : Asia Pacific consumer insights: Fashion & luxury report

Asia Pacific consumer insights report : Asia Pacific consumer insights: Fashion & luxury report

A second report on the 2014 APTRA research programme is now available for members’ in the dedicated area of the website. The report, commissioned from the Swiss based research company m1nd-set completes the first part of APTRA’s 2014 research programme. The fashion & accessories report reveals consumer perceptions on the levels of satisfaction with the fashion & accessory offer in travel retail in the region and a market by market breakdown on opinions of the benefits and disadvantages of the category in duty free. As reported last month, a comprehensive study of Asia Pacific consumer behaviour with regards to the eyewear category is already available for download. Members can access both reports in the members’ only section of the APTRA website.

China’s Century Shanghai 2015

China’s Century Shanghai 2015

Preparations are in full swing for the second edition of the China’s Century conference. The event, which is organised by TFWA in partnership with APTRA will be held in Shanghai from 10-12 March 2015 at the Jing An Shangri-La Hotel. Registration for the event will begin on 10 December via the TFWA website.

TFWA is already in discussion with a number of airport authorities, airlines, brands and retailers about sponsorship opportunities for the event. Interested parties should contact Marissa Phanivong for details of the various options: [email protected] / +33 140 740 986.

TFWA are expecting around 400 delegates at the event, which met with much success for its first edition in Beijing last year. The event brings together senior executives from premium and luxury brands from around the world as well as decision makers from Chinese and international airports and airlines, as well as airport retailers from both China and around the world.

The conference was inaugurated to help TFWA and APTRA’s members and the wider duty free & travel retail industry gain a deeper understanding of the Chinese market, which has become crucial to the health of the duty free and luxury goods sectors. The conference content is designed not only to explore the retail opportunities created by infrastructure developments within China, but also to understand the Chinese traveller’s needs and expectations. For more information, visit

Build and they will come – more companies sign up to APTRA

Build and they will come – more companies sign up to APTRA

APTRA has seen a further boost to its membership base with another five new companies joining in recent weeks. Retailers and suppliers from Europe, India and South East Asia are among the latest new members taking the association’s membership to 107 companies. A brief introduction to each company can be found below. To find out more, you can visit their websites or contact the respective company representatives. The full contact details can be found in the members’ only section on the APTRA website.

Hyderabad Duty Free

Hyderabad Duty Free is the in-house retailer at Hyderabad International Airport. The airport is a joint venture owned by the Indian infrastructure group GMR, which also owns and operates Delhi International Airport, the state run Airports Authority of India, the state of Andhra Pradesh and Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad.

For more information on Hyderabad Duty Free, visit the company website: or contact M. Subhash.


Essilor is a Paris based eyewear company designing and manufacturing eyewear under a number of flagship brands with distribution in around 100 countries. It also owns US eyewear company FGX, whose brands are distributed in airports and is looking to increase its presence in global travel retail.

For more information on Essilor, visit the company website: or contact Brigitte Spinosa, Marketing Intelligence Manager.

Kreol Trading Establishment

Kreol Trading manages the distribution of food products, electronics and perfumes with duty free operators in the Middle East and India. Alpha Kreol India Limited manages the duty free operations at Cochin International Airport in partnership with World Duty Free Group.

For more information on Kreol Trading, visit the company website: or contact AS Lal, CEO.

Shilla Duty Free

Hotel Shilla (The Shilla Duty Free) is one of South Korea’s largest duty free retailers with operations at major international airports across the country as well as downtown locations. It also recently won the beauty concession at Singapore Changi Airport.

For more information on Shilla Duty Free, visit the company website: or contact Jin Wook, Son, Business Development Manager.


Colombo Management Hong Kong

Colombo Management Hong Kong (CMH) runs wines, spirits and watches concessions for Duty Free Philippines as well as supplying confectionery to the retailer. The company was founded in 1987 and employs over 100 staff. For more information on Colombia Management Hong Kong, contact Robert Colombo.

Team APTRA turns out for TFWA charity run

Team APTRA turns out for TFWA charity run

The board of APTRA will be out in (almost) full force to mark the 30th anniversary celebration charity run in Cannes this October. Sporting the APTRA colours, a number of the 12 board members as well as the executive team will be jogging, strolling or limping their way around the course on the morning of Sunday 26 October.

APTRA members wishing to join the team and sport the association colours should write to [email protected] to order an APTRA t-shirt (the cost of which will be communicated as soon as numbers are known). Members who are interested in joining the run, if not already signed up can do so on the TFWA website here.

Policy watch : Liquor labelling in Indonesia

Policy watch : Liquor labelling in Indonesia

Reports in the Indonesian press have signalled that the Indonesian government is considering a law on plain packaging or graphic health warnings on alcohol products.

While no timeframe is mentioned yet, nor is there any mention of duty free, the industry is justifiably concerned by the news as the law, if implemented, would have damaging effects on duty free sales in the country if duty free is not exempt from the legislation.

See the article on the Jakarta Post website here.

Policy watch : Bhutan raises inbound allowance

Policy watch : Bhutan raises inbound allowance

It is not common to read about allowance increases in tobacco, but the Bhutan parliament’s decision to increase the allowance is a demonstration of the industry’s arguments on allowances being enforced. By raising the personal limits the government aims to curb the proliferation of tobacco in the black market.

As reported in the Indo-Asian News Service last month, the allowance has been raised from 80 cigarettes to 800 cigarettes, 150 pieces of cigars, and 750 gm of other tobacco or tobacco products a month. The sale, distribution or cultivation of tobacco in the country remains a criminal offense.

News from ACI Asia Pacific : 5% passenger growth in May

News from ACI Asia Pacific : 5% passenger growth in May

The latest newsletter from Airports Council International reports that airports in Asia Pacific saw passenger growth of 5% in the month of May and a year to date growth of 5.4%, January to May. The highest growth airports include Tokyo Haneda, Hong Kong and Jakarta.

To read the full newsletter, click here.