May 11 2022  |  Associations

TFWA AP Live: a recap of day two

By Laura Shirk at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

The live networking event’s State of the Travel Market in Asia Pacific session covered traveler preferences, air traffic trends and emerging destinations such as Hainan

The session took on a hybrid model with three speakers attending virtually from Sydney, Dubai and Hainan, and Pedro Castro at Dufry speaking in-person


Following an info-packed day one, the second – and final – day of TFWA AP Live offered valuable insight into the state of the travel market in Asia Pacific, the “true” meaning of “sustainability” and the future of digital transformation in SE Asia.

Starting the morning on a positive note (post-coffee), delegates were invited to attend a workshop that took a look at travel and tourism in AP. As expected, the session presented a stellar line-up of top speakers: Sarah Mathews, Group Head of Destination Marketing of APAC, Tripadvisor, Ilia Lioutov, Senior Expert, Airport Economics and ESG, ACI Asia Pacific, Jason Cao, Founder, DutyFreeExpert and Founder & General Manager, Amberich International, attending the conference virtually from Sydney, Dubai and Hainan, respectively, and Pedro Castro, Chief Operations Officer, Asia Pacific, Dufry, speaking in-person.

On the agenda: traveler preferences, air traffic trends and emerging destinations such as Hainan. The workshop discussed the findings of ACI’s analysis of the business model for non-aeronautical revenues at airports, the dynamic growth of China’s travel retail and key lessons learned from COVID-19.

A highlight of the session, Mathews at Tripadvisor shared traveler preferences across Asia Pacific and explained that critical access to data at all times is essential. Tripadvisor recently surveyed consumers from around the world and discovered that travel intent in 2022 is higher than 2019 in the five countries surveyed: Singapore, Japan, Australia, US and UK. Re-iterating a point of conversation from day one, she notes that business travel is on the rise (up 33% from 2019) and anticipated to be a key level of priority across the countries surveyed. Below, see statistics to note:

  • 25% of respondents will take more trips annually than they did pre-pandemic
  • 40% of respondents will consider going places they’ve never been before (more important than in 2019)
  • 33% of respondents will consider immersing themselves in authentic local experiences (more important than in 2019)

Referring to a range of COVID-related factors that travelers take into consideration, Mathews states “travel safety” is a top filter on the Tripadvisor website. Beyond studying the craving of new experiences and the searching of regulations, she touched on experiential travel, shopping local and gift-giving.

Consisting of a well-rounded panel, Sustainable Futures talked about communicating brand sustainability and the impact of sustainable products on self-health and wellbeing


A highly anticipated session on the event program, Sustainable Futures focused on arguably the most important practice when it comes to successfully re-shaping an innovative business model in today’s market. Held in partnership with TRBusiness and drawing on a recent consumer study by m1nd-set, this session explored the impact of social and environmental concerns in regards to purchasing decisions. Moderated by Charlotte Turner, Editorial Director & Non-Executive Board Member, TRBusiness, see the featured panelists below:

  • Dr. Peter Mohn, Founder & CEO, m1nd-set
  • Anna Marchesini, Head of Business Development, m1nd-set
  • Jaya Singh, Managing Director, Mondelez World Travel Retail
  • Melvin Broekaart, Director of Global Travel Retail, Rituals Cosmetics
  • Jackllyn Chau, Director of Human Resources & Talent Development, Lagardère Travel Retail

Communicating brand sustainability served as a leading topic of conversation across the panel. According to the m1nd-set study, when it comes to educating the consumer, product labeling and packaging such as official certifications and logos act as the primary source of information on the practice – excluding the use of QR codes. Mohn at m1nd-set generated an interesting idea: there seems to be a need to create a designated in-store space to display sustainable products. Supporting this message, Broekaart at Rituals Cosmetics delved into the luxury brand’s B Corp Certification and Earth Week initiative.

The authors of the report Southeast Asia, the home for digital transformation shed light on the consumer way of life in Asia post-pandemic

To close the event, TFWA welcomed Dhruv Vohra at Meta Business Group and Praneeth Yendamuri at Bain & Company, and the authors of the report Southeast Asia, the home for digital transformation, to speak. The hour-long session addressed how the migration from offline to online engagement will influence the consumer way of life in Asia post-pandemic. According to the pair, only 11% of consumers in SEA visit brand websites because of social media engagement. When asked if it still makes sense to create – or maintain – a website, Vohra states although it’s necessary to have a brand voice and presence, whether this takes place in the form of a website, an app or an alternative option is open to debate. Something that is clear and concise: the rise of D2C.

A big thank you to TFWA and all of those involved in organizing TFWA AP Live 2022, the team at Global Travel Retail Magazine looks forward to connecting with all of its attendees – and others across the industry – in-person again soon.

REGION Asia

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