Held in Sanya Haitang Bay, home to the world’s largest duty-free shopping complex, the 2019 TFWA China’s Century Conference drew a record 418 delegates from 200 companies. Since the first edition in 2013, the biennial event has attracted a rising proportion of Asian-based attendees, but this was the first time they accounted for over 60% of the total. Brands and suppliers were likewise well represented, while other participants included 19 airports and 25 retailers.
Opening the first day of the TFWA China’s Century Conference, TFWA President Alain Maingreaud said that while concerns have been raised about the economic growth of ‘only’ 6.6%, the China of today is growing from a much larger base, and so it is important to retain a sense of proportion. Across the rest of the region, the picture is positive for duty-free and travel retail with sales in the Asia Pacific increasing by 14.7% in the first nine months of 2018.
Next, on stage, Andrew Ford from APTRA outlined the activities of the association, including the launch of APTRA and TFWA’s Young China Travellers research. APTRA is proud to have partnered with TFWA for the China Century Conference.
Following official welcomes from the Hainan Departments of Commerce and Finance, Charles Chen from China Duty-Free Group (CDFG) revealed that Hainan’s duty-free sales topped US$ 1.5 billion last year, with CDFG’s Haitang Bay operation contributing US$ 1.1 billion. He also outlined how retailers need to maximize the use of big data and online channels to provide an attractive offer.