Chairmans remarks

The Chairman’s remarks

Andrzej MILASZEWICZ,  Chairman of CEETRA - Central & Eastern European Travel Retail Association

All industries face challenges from regulation and legislation. The question asked of our industry is how we manage those challenges and ensure that we areproperly represented. Working together we can combine our strengths and pool our resources to tackle these challenges effectively and promote a stronger future for our industry. 

It is crucial that the travel retail and duty free industry is a proactive and positive part of those policy debates that can affect us. There is no such thing as a one sided argument, and representationsby duty free retailers and operators will ensure that all sides of the debate, and all the nuances of proposed legislation, have been heard before any decision has been made.

Legislators rely on industry to make the most informed decisions. As well as they may understand a particular industry or issue being discussed, no one knows the nuances of how legislation may impact better than the industry itself. This is the enduring value of government advocacy; to help policy-makers define legislation that is even handed and that has taken all of its potential effects into account.

In the sprawl of government responsibility, it is extremely rare for a piece of legislation to be the sole purview of one department. Most government decisions are a double edged sword, and a piece of legislation focused on transport, for instance,  will have an effect on industry, economy, energy and environment, to name a few. How all these effects co-exist best within one piece of legislation is the duty of policy-makers, but they take their steer on key issues from industry representation.

Crucially, a lack of representation from an industry, or even if that representation is not co-ordinated or convicted, will mean their take on policy may be neglected. It is a mantra of government advocacy that the importance of an issue to an industry is reflected in the degree to which it mobilises against or in support of the issue. If government stakeholders perceive a lack of a unified response from duty free, they will assume that the upcoming regulatory initiatives do not greatly affect duty free – and the legislation won’t take their concerns into account.

It is vital therefore that duty free not only stresses its concerns to policymakers, but do so in a co-ordinated, thorough and well-thought out way – a way that will crystallise in the minds of legislators how strongly industry feels about the legislation at hand. Industry therefore must speak with a combined voice and present a united front.

The advantage that duty free has is that since it is operating in a highly regulated environment it is extremely well positioned and well equipped to stand up for itself and communicate its side of the story. Globally, the duty free industry is represented by strong pan-continental trade associations such as PTRA, ASUTIL, ETRC, IAADFS, and MEADFA.

On a European level, an effective framework for advocacy exists under the umbrella of the ETRC comprising of both national and regional associations. At a regional level the industry is supported by the Central and Eastern European Travel Retail Association (CEETRA),  the Nordic Travel Retail Group (NTRG) and the Benelux Travel Retail Association (BTRA). A strong network of national associations is also in place across Europe such as AFCOV (France), DTRV (Germany), and UKTRF (United Kingdom) among others. Through this framework the industry can make their case to stakeholders in Europe both at national level and in the European institutions.

It is crucial that the industry, as a unified voice, avails themselves of these associations and networks. Proactively responding to legislative challenges is hugely important for the future of our industry. We have the network and the tools to promote greater understanding of our business and further its performance and development. We need to utilize those networks to its fullest.

If you are not yet a member please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

Ceetra is a proud member of

The European Travel Retail Confederation

Contact us on phone +32 2 234 6860 or e-mail


Central & Eastern European Travel Retail Association

c/o Hume Brophy

41 Rue de la Science

1040 Brussels


Registered in Belgium, reg. no. 0597.926.905