Q&A: Erik Juul-Mortensen, TFWA President
Erik Juul-Mortensen is President of Tax Free World Association (TFWA). Joint founder of TFWA and a member of its Management Committee since the inception until 2018. President from 1999 to 2018 when he stepped down, Erik was reelected in December 2021.
Erik has enjoyed a long and successful career in international business, most recently as President of Maxxium Global Travel Retail, a highly successful division of Maxxium Worldwide – a joint venture between V&S Group, Remy-Cointreau, The Edrington Group and Beam Global Spirits & Wine.
Erik is a member of the Supervisory and Managing Boards of ETRC (European Travel Retail Confederation), and board member of MEADFA (Middle East & Africa Duty Free Association), APTRA (Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association), and the DFWC (Duty Free World Council).
How are preparations going ahead of the recently announced TFWA Asia Pacific Live networking event, scheduled for 9-11 May in Singapore?
We are very happy with how preparations are going thus far, the TFWA team is working incredibly hard and doing everything in their power to ensure TFWA Asia Pacific Live networking will be the success the industry has come to expect from TFWA events.
I am pleased that we will at last be able to bring our industry in the Asia-Pacific region together once more. In-person meeting and networking has proven to be a pivotal part of the duty free and travel retail industry over many years, as ours is a business that is truly dependent on relationships. We are thrilled to be able to provide attendees with the opportunity to get together and do this.
Asia-Pacific often sets the trends which are quickly adopted by the rest of the industry and at the event in Singapore in May an overview of the market will be presented, exploring how it will affect their own business in terms of the opportunities it presents as well as the threats that might arise. Everyone at TFWA is very much looking forward to getting back to business and putting on a fantastic event in Singapore.
How did you come to the decision to change the format of the event?
All of us at TFWA remained positive and optimistic for as long as we could that we would be able to put on the event as previously planned. As time went on however, we had to accept we were not going to be able to gain the full commitment needed from exhibiting brands due to the uncertain climate in which we currently live.
What did not change, however, was TFWA’s unwavering desire to bring a live in-person networking event to Singapore. Whilst many brands couldn’t commit to putting together a physical stand for the event, they were still very interested in attending an event which would bring the industry together in Singapore and this gave us hope. As a result, we were determined that the event would go ahead in some fashion.
While we were disappointed not to be able to host an exhibition and conference as in the past, we firmly believe that each opportunity to meet face-to-face must be celebrated and we are sure that TFWA Asia Pacific Live will provide a much-needed boost to the industry in the region.
What does the relaxing of restrictions in Singapore mean for TFWA Asia Pacific Live?
The loosening of travel restrictions across Asia in recent months is most welcome news indeed, both for the industry as whole and for the TFWA Asia Pacific Live networking event. The recent announcement that Singapore will now allow fully vaccinated travellers to enter the country quarantine-free is fantastic news for the entire travel retail industry, and, of course, also for TFWA Asia Pacific Live.
Singapore’s relaxation of restrictions in a sensible and consistent manner is a very important step in the right direction and we commend the authorities in Singapore for making this decision.
How important is it for the industry to be able to get together to meet and network in-person once again?
As the duty free and travel retail industry continues to recover from the impact of the past two years, events such as this are more important than ever. Our events provide a forum for people to both form and maintain strong working relationships, and these relationships are the bed-rock of our industry.
At this event, the main focus will be networking, both formally and informally, with several opportunities throughout for attendees to meet and connect with each other. We understand the immense value of networking in-person with like-minded people and want to present the industry with the networking opportunities that have been so badly missed over the past two years.
What can attendees expect from TFWA Asia Pacific Live?
The TFWA ONE2ONE meeting service will provide the platform for formal meetings with plenty of business meeting facilities onsite, whilst a dedicated area of the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre – where the event will take place – will be used for more informal discussions.
There will also be a strong learning element with six workshops taking place during the event, and delegates will be able to pick and choose which they wish to attend in an ‘à la carte’ fashion. The sessions will not be streamed live – but replays will be available following the event.
Find out more about the event here.
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