Patrick Bohl, Head of Retail at Budapest Airport, Chairman of the ACI Commercial Forum and Board member of CEETRA


Bringing together the central and eastern European travel retail and duty free industry under an umbrella association like CEETRA makes a lot of sense. Providing the members with a forum to exchange views, build relationships, and find common ground while establishing a united voice that can tackle local and regional issues as they arise.

Although the volume of the duty free and travel retail sector in the Eastern European region may not be that significant compared to the rest of Europe, one should pay attention to the growth rates in the region. While Europe’s overall share of global duty free sales over a 15 year period decreased from 50% in 1998 to 35%, the Eastern European share increased from 3,7% to 7,6% in the same period. 

That duty free and travel retail play an important part in the airport industry is an increasingly clear position recognised by all stakeholders including ACI, who even see the role of commercial revenues increasing in importance. For most airports as much as 40% and even up to 60% in some cases of total revenues, are generated from non-aviation activity, where duty free and travel retail account for the biggest part. With the core airline activity increasingly under pressure airports are forced to develop further the income from non-aviation activity.

Too much is left to risk without proactive engagement from the industry itself. National legislative initiatives far too often impact on the duty free and travel retail industry presenting significant challenges. It is clear that legislators often do not take into account the impact on the industry.

It is vital that we raise the awareness and the priority level in the minds of legislators so they understand the role of the industry and the benefits it provides so when policy proposals come out they should think immediately of what impact it will have on duty free and travel retail.

An industry association like CEETRA must actively seek to identify and develop spokespeople and supporters who will look for ways to develop the industry further, who will seek to protect it from negative impact. We must look to ourselves to mobilize the knowledge and ability that is already present within our industry. We must identify how best to tap into that industry capability and involve it in activities that will help to drive innovation and growth and perhaps more importantly to identify challenges before they become real problems.



Jana Volickova, Managing Director Lagardere Duty Free Czech Republic and Board member of CEETRA

For an industry association like CEETRA there is no secret ingredient but a mix of vision, communication, representation and community.

All stakeholders in the industry want to see it thrive and develop, to reach its full potential. It is important that these stakeholders have a shared vision to rally around, to promote and to aim for. The shared vision for the industry and what it can achieve drives the development and promotion of the duty free and travel retail industry. 

The vision required for the industry is of a thriving and strong duty free and travel retail sector in the region that is recognised as a world leader in practice and execution. An industry that drives airport revenues, creates employment and contributes to the local economy. An industry that is acknowledged for its unique nature and benefits.

This is really the heart of the Central and Eastern European Travel Retail Association, the shared vision – what can be achieved, it is from this that all other activities and initiatives spring.

The second element supports this, the communication of that vision. It is important that our shared vision is not kept a secret, as that will not help us achieve it. We must communicate to stakeholders our vision for the industry. We must show people the important role that the industry plays today and the benefits that it provides to airports, local economy and national infrastructure.

We must also communicate the potential of the industry, what it is that can be achieved. Explaining to stakeholders the importance of supporting the development of a strong performing duty free and travel retail industry, and identifying strategies to achieve that.

Our communication must also reach out to industry stakeholders to understand their concerns and ideas for the future, so we can best represent them. This brings the third ingredient to the mix, representation.

A strong representative voice that speaks for the entire industry in the region, and can engage with policy makers in the various member states is a vital role that must be filed. Due to the nature of duty free and travel retail we are particularly susceptible to legislation impacting on our business. In many cases that is not even an intended consequence but merely that the legislators have not given consideration to how a proposal would impact on our business!

The industry is benefitting significantly from a recognised representative body like CEETRA, that can demonstrate strong industry membership and backing and who can engage with legislators as needed, representing industry interests and promoting awareness of the duty free and travel retail industry.

Only through such strong regional representation can we promote the shared vision of a strong industry, defend against legislative proposals that would negatively impact the development of the industry throughout the region and champion initiatives that strengthen and nurture the duty free and travel retail sector.

The final element is one of the most important which is community. CEETRA puts great value in bringing together industry stakeholders to build relationships, share ideas and discuss issues. There is great talent and insight amongst the various companies involved in duty free and travel retail, people that are every day tackling issues that affect their business and coming up with new and innovative ways of doing business that helps to grow the industry.

Bringing these people together through an umbrella group such as CEETRA allows us to share those insights and develop a strong community within the region, a community with shared vision and representation that work together to see the industry achieve its full potential.

Ceetra is a proud member of

The European Travel Retail Confederation

Contact us on phone +32 2 234 6860 or e-mail secretariat@ceetra.org


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