April 11 2022  |  Associations

Opening remarks and keynote address set optimistic tone for 2022 Summit of the Americas

By Jane Hobson, in West Palm Beach, Florida

Rene Riedi, IAADFS Chair, gives welcoming comments at 2022 Summit of the Americas

Day one of the 2022 Summit of the Americas started with inspiring comments from Rene Riedi, IAADFS Chair, and Dag Rasmussen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lagardère Travel Retail.

“I want to strike a note of optimism because we have started to return to normalcy, from pandemic to endemic,” said Riedi at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. “Our industry can now learn to live with it rather than be threatened by it.”

Riedi then went on to share features he thinks are most important for recovery, including protecting and expanding the industry share of consumer spending, getting familiar with consumer shopping behavior and online shopping, and addressing sustainability.

“It is sometimes sad that if you do what you always did, you get what you always got. As passengers return, the future success of retail will only be ensured by us doing more than we always did pre-Covid-19. We need to reimagine and reinvent. We need to reconnect in new ways with our customer base on land, sea and in the air,” he said. “I thank you for your kind attention and wish you all success during the Summit.”

Dag Rasmussen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lagardère Travel Retail, gives keynote address

“Our industry is a resilient one,” said Rasmussen, taking to the stage after Riedi for his keynote address.

In the last two years, Lagardère has expanded to seven new countries, strategically growing travel essentials, duty free and dining to a total of 42 countries, 260 airports and 710 railway and metro stations.

But, he said, since uncertainty is the only thing that is certain right now, coming out of the storm stronger means Lagardère is focusing on four key aspects that are important to consumers: Planet, Ethics, People and Social. Abbreviated to PEPS, these areas include increasing the sustainability of its operations, putting people at the heart of its strategy, being the partner of choice for a responsible offer and providing support to the local community.

The 2022 Summit is hosted at the Palm Beach County Convention Center

“A one size fits all approach is not what people are looking for,” he said.

Overall, Rasmussen says the top consumer trends travel retail and dining operators should address are convenience to shoppers, authenticity and localness, online and digital components that offer good value for money, and green, healthy and ethical practices.

He said he has seen the industry move from surviving mode toward thriving mode, adding that he is feeling “optimistic by conviction.”

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