Now in its 15th year, APTRA held its 2020 AGM – in a virtual format – attended by members representing brands, retailers, landlords and Industry Associations from across the region.
In a move that reflects a broader approach to industry inclusivity, two constitutional changes were proposed and approved. Both motions were approved by members, confirming that eligibility for membership is now open to food and beverage operators within the retailer section. In the brands’ section, membership is now open to distributors/agents with exclusive travel retail rights for the entire Asia Pacific region.
During the meeting, Christina Oliver, Executive Director APTRA, updated members on key advocacy campaigns over the last year including recent Covid-19 initiatives. She highlighted major research projects commissioned, notably the publication (in October 2019) of the Economic Impact Report of Duty-Free & Travel Retail in the Asia Pacific, produced in association with the Duty-Free World Council. The report has proved valuable in current political campaigning as it demonstrates the vital role of the industry in delivering non-aeronautical revenue streams essential to airports and airlines, its employment significance supporting over 320,000 jobs and a contribution of almost US$15bn to GDP in the region.
Sunil Tuli, President of APTRA, told members how APTRA has increased its proactive focus on advocacy given the increasing prevalence of regulatory issues impacting the industry, especially on alcohol allowances, tobacco plain packaging and the rise of the war on sugar.
Throughout the current pandemic, APTRA has been actively campaigning with governments across APAC to increase awareness of the vital role the duty-free and travel retail sector plays in non-aeronautical revenue generation and to secure its inclusion in relief and stimulus measures for the aviation industry. Recently, APTRA has worked in partnership with other organisations as a member of the Duty-Free World Council, successfully achieving the support of ICAO that duty and tax-free stores can open as traffic returns. The ICAO CART report recognises that shopping areas are part of the airport infrastructure and should be used fully to enable physical distancing as their surface area is an integral part of the general passenger flow through an airport.
Commenting on the core message he shared at the AGM, Sunil Tuli said: “The journey of the last 15 years of extraordinary growth and development in the Asia Pacific is one we simply couldn’t have envisaged back in 2005 when APTRA was created. Now in 2020, we are facing the biggest challenge imaginable, but our region is resilient and ready to re-start and APTRA is standing strong with the industry at this pivotal time. The future is underpinned by many strong factors such as the unstoppable rise of Chinese travellers, the growth of the middle class in the region and the dominance of youthful populations in so many countries. As these populations mature, their wealth will increase as will their propensity to spend on their travels. Despite the immediate bumps in the road, travel retail in the Asia Pacific is following a robust and exciting road map through the next 15 years.”