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This week TMI takes a deep look at the Caribbean.
Despite predictions of widespread death amid fears of inadequate medical facilities, the Caribbean took immediate and decisive actions to close borders. The region instituted strict protocols, capitalizing on testing and isolation, with much coordination and collaboration among the islands.
At this writing, at least eight islands are COVID-19 free, and nearly all have initiated plans to begin opening to tourism, while assuring that protocols are in place to maintain safety and security, and assure visitors that the destination is safe.
St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands was the first island to officially open to tourism, yesterday, June 1, but according to two major retailers on the island, they are not ready to open their doors as yet.
This TMI Special Report covers the USVI, Aruba, Bermuda, The Bahamas and Grenada, and speaks with Little Switzerland’s Hal Taylor, AH Riise’s Filippo Cassinelli, Rouge Duty Free’s Raymond Kattoura, and Brown & Co.’s Nicole Warren, among others, as well as tourism officials from the region. Part 1 begins on page 1.
Part 2 of coverage will continue in our next issue as well.
South American Duty Free Association ASUTIL turned to one of Uruguay’s leading newspapers to add weight to its plea to local governments for assistance during the COVID-19 crisis, with requests to use e-commerce to sell to a domestic consumer and to Brazilians. Page 2.
Avianca & LATAM airlines file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Page 2.
SUPPLY SIDE / DISTRIBUTOR NEWS
It could take as much as five years before the global drinks industry rebounds from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, according to new research from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis. See this sobering report on page 4.
Beam Suntory launches an innovative Spirited Speaker Series, hosted by Ed Stening, Head of Travel Retail Marketing. See more on page 4.
Swiss brand SKROSS is building its presence in U.S. Travel Retail with listings in 100 InMotion airport stores, where its full range of travel electronics will be sold in dedicated wall space. Page 4.
Duty Free Dynamics.
Panama-based regional distribution company Duty Free Dynamics is obviously not allowing the coronavirus pandemic to stop its unwavering growth. Among its latest developments, DFD has announced it has opened a distribution channel for outdoor brand Osprey with duty free specialty retailer 3Sixty; and expanded its fashion watch portfolio with the addition of the popular Anne Klein brand. Read more on page 5.
Nestlé ITR is launching a new version of its travel retail exclusive Smarties Music Creator-the first product to meet the company’s new sustainability guidelines that call for replacing all single use plastic packaging with a recyclable carton box. Page 6.
COPING WITH COVID-19
Ethos Farm has launched a new online training program for Travel Retail sales staff. Page 6
Inflight specialist Christine Martin (Ethos Farm) and TRACE Consulting founder Vimai Rai have issued a “Blueprint” that challenges the travel retail industry to pursue a digital transformation that will prevent inflight from becoming “extinct.” Page 6.