2016 Cannes Duty Free Convention

PARIS — The travel-retail industry is about to get a healthy dose of digital novelty.

The Tax Free World Association said that it will launch a new digital exhibition space during its next session in Cannes, France. Called TFWA Digital Village, the 9,330-square-foot area is meant to provide a showcase for creative digital solutions and services.

“We have seen considerable change in both retail and travel in recent years. New technology has revolutionized the way consumers shop, while more people are traveling, booking their travel online and then looking to stay connected during their trip,” Erik Juul-Mortensen, TFWA president, said in a statement. “TFWA Digital Village will offer the sector the opportunity to see the latest technologies and to learn more about the differences they can make to the customer experience. It will help signpost how to take advantage of evolutions in travel retail with the view to driving growth.”

The new area is aimed at attracting new types of delegates, including information-technology, marketing, digital and operations managers. “The exhibition is expected to appeal to a number of players, from start-ups with new, disruptive business models to leading established service providers and agencies,” TFWA said, adding functions to be covered will include loyalty programs, consumer relationship management, software and hardware.

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TFWA Digital Village, which will run from Oct. 4 to 6, is expected to host about 30 exhibitors. It will be located in Cannes’ Gare Maritime, next to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, where the main TFWA show is housed.

The $62 billion travel-retail industry has been rattled by an unprecedented confluence of economic, social and political upheaval.

Interviewed during the last TFWA session in Cannes in October 2016, Olivier Bottrie, president of travel retail worldwide at the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., said: “We need to disrupt the industry. We need to disrupt the way we do business in travel retail. There’s a disruptor in the room, and that disruptor is online.”

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