Huge success of the inaugural APTRA India Conference

New Update
Huge success of the inaugural APTRA India Conference

The inaugural APTRA India Conference held in Delhi last month was nothing short of a tour de force in the realm of travel retail, drawing over 250 delegates. This power-packed event pulsated with dynamic brainstorming sessions and insightful keynote addresses. This new annual initiative by the Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association (APTRA) aimed to illuminate the burgeoning opportunities in India’s fast-developing market.

The overwhelming response has propelled the confirmation of its return in early 2025, with the location for the forthcoming event to be announced later. As a testament to its significance, stalwarts in the industry like Delhi Duty Free Services, a long-standing member of APTRA, joined as the Platinum Host Partner, while Gulf Beverages & African-Eastern, recent entrants to APTRA, supported the event as Prestige Partner.

The conference unfolded with an insights-driven agenda, featuring a keynote address by Manisha Saxena, Director General of Tourism, Government of India, and delved into cornerstone developments in tourism, aviation, retail, and consumer insights. The gathering provided attending companies with invaluable perspectives on navigating the intricacies of India’s evolving travel retail market landscape.

Throughout the event, esteemed travel retail figures and business representatives engaged in dynamic discussions and deliberations across a spectrum of topics. Panel discussions served as the crucible for brainstorming sessions, fostering a rich exchange of ideas and insights.

APTRA India conference featured panel discussion on Building Exceptional Shopping Experiences in India Travel Retail; India's Spirited Ascent: Exploring Premiumization Trends in the Indian Market, fueled by domestic growth drivers & amplified by travel retail opportunities; India Rising: Perspectives from the Indian Diaspora in Travel Retail; Beauty Unboxed: Unpacking the Latest Indian Beauty Trends and Local Brands Leading the Way in Luxury, Wellness and Colour Cosmetics; ESG Panel: How Far Have We Come and How Far Do We Have To Go?; 1.4bn Perspectives: Understanding the Many Faces of India; and Taste of India: Curating Confectionery to a Diverse Consumer Base and how the Foodie Revolution is taking off in Indian Airports.


Among the noteworthy panel discussions was ‘India’s Spirited Ascent: Exploring Premiumization Trends in the Indian Market,’ where industry luminaries elucidated the pivotal role of premium spirits in driving growth in India’s travel retail sector. This session, moderated by Shalini Kumar, Editor, Spiritz Magazine, offered a comprehensive exploration of the opportunities and challenges inherent in catering to the discerning Indian shoppers. Shalini Kumar was joined on stage by travel retail stakeholders Clarisse Daniels, Regional Director, Global Travel Retail, EMEIA & Americas, Whyte & Mackay; Neha Jabbar, Head of Marketing, Gulf & India Travel Retail, Pernod Ricard; Guy May, Director, Global Business, The House of Somrus; Leila Stansfield, Managing Director, Bacardi Global Travel Retail and Sandra Tassilly, Commercial Director, APAC, MENA & India, Diageo Travel Retail.

Whyte & Mackay’s Clarisse Daniels viewed that single malt Scotch whisky is driving the continued growth of the spirits category in Global Travel Retail, as the preferred choice for Indian consumers. Daniels laid out the importance of distinctive in-store experiences tailored to meet travelling shoppers’ desire for inspiration and discovery.

Whyte & Mackay – a gold-level partner for the inaugural APTRA India Conference – highlighted the strategic importance of the region to the global Scotch whisky category. Consumer demand for single malt has propelled Whyte & Mackay to significant growth in the Middle East & India across their portfolio of pedigree single malt whisky brands, led by The Dalmore and Jura.

Another illuminating panel titled “1.4bn Perspectives: Understanding the Many Faces of India,” provided a nuanced examination of India’s diverse demographic landscape, offering attending companies invaluable insights into the multifaceted nature of the Indian consumer market.

The conference also featured keynote addresses by industry leaders, such as Delhi Duty Free’s CEO, Ashish Chopra, who provided a candid assessment of the challenges and opportunities in the Indian travel retail market. Chopra’s insights shed light on critical issues like pricing dynamics and evolving consumer preferences; empowering attending companies with actionable intelligence.
He revealed that spirits remained a core part of the duty-free business. He pointed out that shoppers had shown their preference for the malt market. However, he conceded that pricing was an issue, with some Indian domestic markets selling whisky cheaper than it is in Scotland.


The event reached its zenith with a Gala Dinner sponsored by Bacardi, where attendees were treated to a mesmerizing Kathak performance by renowned artist Manjari Chaturvedi, showcasing the rich cultural tapestry of India. APTRA co-hosted a networking session for WITR+ with cocktails supplied by Bacardi that provided a platform for networking sessions, reinforcing APTRA’s commitment to fostering collaboration and camaraderie within the industry.

In adherence to APTRA’s non-profit status, all proceeds from the event will be reinvested to support industry initiatives across the Asia-Pacific region, including research, events, and advocacy efforts. This commitment underscores the enduring impact of the conference in shaping the future trajectory of travel retail in India and beyond.

In essence, the APTRA India Conference was a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and insight-sharing, serving as a catalyst for driving growth and prosperity in the dynamic landscape of Indian travel retail. Attendees departed with a wealth of knowledge and inspiration, armed with the tools to seize the abundant opportunities that lie ahead.

Subscribe to read more