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Growing waiting list puts pressure on Travel Retail exhibition to leave Cannes - TFWA president

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The outgoing president of TFWA, the main trade body for Global Travel Retail, has said the group is open to moving its annual exhibition out of Cannes as the event becomes oversubscribed.

Erik Juul-Mortensen will step down from the TFWA in December

Erik Juul-Mortensen will step down from the TFWA in December

Erik Juul-Mortensen said close to 200 firms, many of them in wines and spirits, are on the waiting list for a stand at the TFWA exhibition, which is held in Cannes' Palais des Festivals every October. Space restrictions at the venue mean a large number of producers cannot claim a pitch.

"I used to say it was a positive problem but it's not any more," Juul-Mortensen said in an interview with just-drinks. "We simply have too many brand companies that do justify a stand but we just don't have the space."

Juul-Mortensen, who is due to step down as TFWA president next month after 19 years in the post, said one possibility was to move the exhibition elsewhere in France or to Germany or Spain where larger exhibition space is available.

"We have been around in my time looking at alternative venues and I'm sure they [the TFWA board] will continue doing that," he explained.

However, Juul-Mortensen said TFWA members and visitors were overwhelmingly in favour of staying in Cannes. Post-show surveys show about 80% keen to stay in the French Riviera city. He also said that though people feel Cannes hotel rooms are too expensive, according to TFWA research accommodation is priced similarly to other European exhibition cities.

Addressing the current overcrowding issues in Cannes, Juul-Mortensen said TFWA management is "seriously looking" at it for next year. 

"We can't operate with more than close to 200 companies on the waiting list," he explained. "We need to make sure we have a sufficient influx of new brands."

Juul-Mortensen was speaking to just-drinks in an exclusive interview ahead of his stepping down from TFWA. A new president will be elected by the TFWA board in mid-December.

Juul-Mortensen is one of the founding members of TFWA, which was created in 1984. He was duty free director for Absolut owner V&S before its takeover by Pernod Ricard in 2008 and was also president of Maxxium Global Travel Retail, a joint-venture between Edrington, Beam Inc, Remy Cointreau and V&S.

To read just-drinks articles from this year's TFWA exhibition in Cannes, click here


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