Big changes ahead for ASUTIL and IAADFS events as groups announce collaboration

iaadfs_logo_blue_with_gold_rThe South American Duty Free Association, Asociacion Sudamericana de Tiendas Libres (ASUTIL), and the International Association of Airport and Duty Free Stores (IAADFS) today announced a new collaborative partnership for their annual events.

The two associations will fully integrate their events in March 2018, when they will introduce a Summit of the Americas. The new event “will offer a revitalized business, educational and networking event for all attendees,” says the organizations in the official announcement.

For this year, the ASUTIL and IAADFS will work on finalizing the elements and changes for the new event.

asutil-logo-1“We have all reflected on the shifting industry environment and recognize the need to make efficiencies for doing business in the Americas,” stated Gustavo Fagundes, ASUTIL President and COO of Dufry Brasil and Bolivia. “From our viewpoints, there is an opportunity to achieve a more valuable and cost‐effective annual event for both suppliers and buyers on the exhibition side, and strengthen our educational offerings by combining our activities.”

“Everyone recognizes that collaboration allows us to better adapt to changes within the industry,” added Erasmo Orillac, IAADFS Chairman of the Board and CEO of Motta Internacional, SA. “In addition to the benefits that will be seen for our tradeshow, we want to bring together and enhance the educational conference aspects of what we each do. From the top of Canada to the tip of South America, the Americas offer a powerful growth opportunity for the duty free and travel retail industry. We want to help maximize that future for everyone.”

TMI spoke earlier today with IAADFS President Michael Payne and ASUTIL Secretary General Jose Luis Donagaray, who shared further details of the collaboration.

The first effect of the new “convergence” between the two organizations will be a joint educational session at this year’s Orlando Duty Free show, that will take place on Tuesday morning, says Payne

“Then we will work together through 2017 to bring more ASUTIL participation and engagement into the Show,” he added.

The ‘Summit of the Americas’ will launch in 2018. It will take place in March in Orlando, since this is where the IAADFS still has space.

Payne says that future venues of the event are part of the current discussions. He expects to have further details about the 2018 event by the time this year’s show takes place.

“We think that ‘Summit of the Americas’ is a more fitting title as we consolidate some activities with the other trade organizations. We are still speaking with Canada’s Frontier Duty Free Association to see what their participation will be, and with ASUTIL, it will no longer be predominantly a trade show. ASUTIL has always been more of a conference driven event.

“So we will merge these two concepts to create a one-stop event. Suppliers have been expressing concerns about having to go to three difference events and the buyers like the idea as well. We know what we want to do, but are discussing the best ways to do it.”

Donagaray was able to discuss some specifics of the new collaboration

“The idea is to have a great event that combines the best elements of the IAADFS and ASUTIL. Along with a trade show we will have networking time, as we have in ASUTIL, and educational sessions with really good speakers two mornings. We are developing a survey to determine what our people need at this moment. We already did some small surveys with some major suppliers and operators to get their feedback. This is a good opportunity to give more value and the goal is to have all of the buyers in the continent attend.

“This is the main idea, and we will work on it throughout the year. One idea under consideration is to offer small suppliers a special networking session one morning, where they will have the chance to meet with operators the way we do at ASUTIL. With one event, people will have to travel less, spend less money, and have more opportunities to network and connect. Today it is very difficult for operators to take their buyers to Canada, to the IAADFS, to ASUTIL, between the time involved and the costs to travel in Latin America. We are hoping that by consolidating all of this into one event, it will be much more valuable to those who attend and successful all around.  Michael and I have already had meetings and will have more through the year.”

Both organizations acknowledge that it was time to make a change in their main events to accommodate the changing business environment.

Payne concludes: “We have to change the way the show looks and feels. We have been talking about this for some while, but now we really have to do it.  We anticipate that if this plan develops as we envision, some companies that have not participated in a while may return in another setting.”


Meanwhile, visitors to the 2017 Duty Free Show of the Americas will see one major change on the Trade Market floor this coming March, with all the exhibitors once again consolidated into one exhibition space.

“We are closing the Palms Ballroom space,” confirmed Payne.

“I don’t think the exhibitors in that space had as much traffic as they should have last year. With all the exhibitors in one area there will be better foot traffic and excitement. We have obviously reduced the space, since clearly the trade market wasn’t as active and busy as it had been in the past. We will probably have fewer exhibitors, this year, as the industry is still feeling the slowdown in business.”

Payne says that the Association will find another use for the Palms area, and that he expects the collaboration between the Americas’ associations to help ameliorate the down trend seen last year.