More details revealed on 21st annual ASUTIL conference

ASUTIL Secretary-General Jose Luis Donagaray speaks to the media about the ASUTIL June meeting at a news conference at IAADFS in Orlando

It will be “back to the future” when the South American Duty Free Shops Association (ASUTIL) holds its 21st annual conference in Rio de Janeiro June 6-9.

ASUTIL Secretary-General José Luis Donagaray announced the conference agenda at the annual meeting of the International Association of Airport Duty Free Stores (IAADFS) as well as the organization’s plans to hold a joint conference with IAADFS in March 2018. That meeting, already being billed as the “Summit of the Americas,” will be held in Orlando.

But first on the horizon for ASUTILis the Rio meeting, where the location has special significance for the organization. “We are going back to where we did first conference.” Donagaray said, referring to the September 11, 2001 ASUTIL meeting in Rio.  That meeting was cut short by the repercussions of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. 

“We have to deliver the promise of a good conference for everyone who is attending,” Donagaray said, as he outlined the list of presenters on the conference agenda. 

The keynote speaker will be Murilo Portugal, president of the Brazilian Federation of Banks (FEBRABAN), who will speak on economic projections for Brazil for the coming year.  Portugal, reelected this month as federation president for a term that will end in March 2020.

Other speakers include Gustavo Fagundes, ASUTIL President and COO of Dufry Brasil; Dr. Peter Mohn, owner and CEO of M1ND-SET; Dr. Ernesto Talvi, Executive Director of the Center for the Studies of Economic and Social Reality (CERES); and Martín Eurnekian, recently elected chairman of the Airports Council International  – Latin American & Caribbean (ACI-LAC).

Also on the agenda are Francisco Heredia of London Supply, Rafael Parodi of SIÑERIZ and a still to-be-determined speaker from Google Latin America.

But moving ahead to next year’s joint conference with IAADFS, Donagaray said the time was right for both organizations to put together a combined annual meeting.

“Buyers (will have to) travel less. Companies have to spend less money. We have a lot of synergies,” Donagaray said.

He said both associations are conducting surveys now of their memberships, taking into account the needs and wants of suppliers, buyers and associations. “We are a trilogy and we need to work together,” he said.

Because of contractual obligations, Donagaray said Canada’s Frontier Duty Free Association would not be a formal partner for the 2018 Summit, although the hope is that the Canadian group will join the effort in the future. However, the Canadian organization is expected to be a strong summit participant, as it was in this year’s IAADFS conference.