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          DFWC webinar analyzes whether 2021 is the Year of Recovery?

              The Duty Free World Council held   remember when discussing a digital future   U.S./Central America
          another critical, far-reaching webinar in   with our airport and airline partners,” she   In the Americas, recovery will differ
          February, with the virtual event featuring   noted.                  quite significantly depending on the
          representatives from all the regional   Patrick Lucas, Vice President   market.
          associations presenting updates on the state   Economics at ACI World, presented a deep   Rene Riedi, president of International
          of the industry.                  dive into the numbers defining the impact   Association of Airport and Duty Free
              Under the theme of Year of Recovery?    on aviation from the lockdowns caused by   Stores, presented an overview of the
          Tax Free World Association Managing   the coronavirus.               situation in the United States and Central
          Director John Rimmer warned that the   With a 63+% decline in passenger   America and the efforts the association had
          situation could get worse before it gets   traffic in 2020, ACI World estimates the   taken on behalf of the industry at the time.
          better, and advised a “sober look” at the   economic loss to be US$112 billion last   Among the major initiatives, Riedi
          data in planning for the future.   year. This would be equivalent to the 85   said that obtaining financial relief for the
              “Recovery will be far from easy or   busiest hub airports having all of their   Duty Free and Travel Retail industry due
          smooth,” he cautioned.            revenue wiped out, he said.        to the impacts from the pandemic was
              DFWC President Sarah Branquinho   And with the rampant spread    the IAADFS’s main priority, and that the
          said recovery will be all about opening   of existing and new variants of the   association had coordinated its effort with
          borders safely, and reiterated that the travel   coronavirus, countries worldwide are   other airport concessionaire organizations
          industry is advocating testing and vaccines,   slamming shut their borders to travel and   to do so.
          instead of quarantining, which is “stifling   instituting new lockdowns this year as well,   The COVID-19 relief package
          travel the world over.”           the consensus is that real recovery to travel   signed into law by then President Donald
              Detailing the steps being taken by   will not begin until later in the second half   Trump on Dec. 27 2020 contained critical
          aviation group IATA (International Air   of this year, and will be in select markets   assistance for airport concessionaires in the
          Transport Association) to encourage   only.                          amount of $2 billion. The COVID-19 relief
          opening borders, Branquinho informed   In fact, the experts are looking more   package also included new funding of the
          listeners that the DFWC had reminded   at 2024 for widespread recovery rather   Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which
          IATA that duty and tax free retail are an   than 2023. The bright spot, however, is   expired on Aug 8, 2020. The second round
          integral part of the total business model and   that pent-up demand for travel is strong   is funded with a total of $320 billion.
          that safeguards need to be built in to protect   and growing, so when borders open, and   Ed. Update:  A “Biden” relief bill
          our ability to make those sales.    vaccines are readily available, recovery   signed in March includes $14 billion for
              “This is something we’ll be working   should flourish.           airlines and an additional $9 billion for
          on with IATA and that we all need to                                 airports and other businesses. The Biden

                                                                                          ASUTIL’s Jose Luis
                                                                                          Donagaray, ACI World’s
                                                                                          Patrick Lucas, FDFA’s
                                                                                          Barbara Barrett and IAADFS’s
                                                                                          (Dufry) Rene Riedi discuss the
                                                                                          recovery prospects for the duty
                                                                                          free and travel retail business
                                                                                          in the Americas during the
                                                                                          Duty Free World Council
                                                                                          webinar in February.

          The Virtual Summit of the Americas Issue April 2021                 8
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