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Friends International Announced as 2019 Charity Project

Women in Travel Retail (WiTR) has named Friends International as its 2019 charity of the year.
Friends International was founded in the early 1990s in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It has 25 years of experience working directly with disadvantaged urban children, youth, families and communities, across Asia, Africa and Europe. The charity enables individuals who lack opportunities to become productive, independent citizens.
WiTR will raise funds to support a Siem Reap-based Friends International project, which provides beauty salon training for 24 young women, aged 16 to 24. The training will enable them to provide for their children and siblings.

“This grant will help many young women on the path to learning new skills, getting jobs and empowering themselves to be happy, active and productive members of Cambodian society.” – Friends International Founder and Director Sebastien Marot

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WiTR Fundraising Event – Photo Gallery

On the 2nd of October, during the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes, WiTR held a fundraising event for Hand in Hand for Haiti. Hosted in the iconic Palais des Festivals, WiTR members also enjoyed the opportunity to meet and network over a glass of prosecco. Here is a photo gallery of the event.

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Outstanding contribution to the industry (October 2018)

WiTR’s creation of a platform to bring together the women working in the travel retail industry and its support for charity was recognised at the 2018 Frontier Awards in Cannes with the coveted award for Outstanding Contribution to the Industry.

The award was accepted on behalf of WiTR’s Members by Chair and Vice Chair Sarah Branquinho (Dufry) and Gerry Munday (Furla).

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Hand in Hand for Haiti

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Florida WiTR raise $1,800 for school in India (May 2018)

Florida-based members of industry networking group Women in Travel Retail and friends held a get-together in mid-May in Miami Beach hosted by Virginie Cordero, of distribution agency Sunnytouch, and raised $1,800 to assist the Primary and Anganwadi School complex in Mudh, India.  The school was built by Lotus Flower Institute with support from TFWA CARE; and the Florida WiTRs – spurred on by Virginie – previously funded beds and supplies for the children in the school.  This year’s donation aims to fund all the school supplies for the coming year.

Virginie comments: “We gathered a small but very dedicated crowd, with 10 WiTRs plus friends, and had a very good time, sharing stories of our business and life but more importantly, raised such a nice amount of money for these children.  The very generous gifts were a hit and made the raffle a lot of fun.  Thank you to those who sent in donations also.”

Virginie will be visiting the school in August and it is not too late to send in a donation.  Please contact for more information.


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TRBusiness and WiTR raise €5,600 for Hand in Hand for Haiti (June 2018)

During TFWA Asia Pacific Conference and Exhibition, at the first TR Business Travel Retail Awards judged by consumers, TRBusiness and their guests joined forces with Women in Travel Retail to raise money for WiTR’s chosen 2018 charity – Hand in Hand for Haiti.  WiTR aims to raise €15,000 to purchase musical instruments for the school, which was funded by the industry in Haiti to rebuild children’s lives following the devastating earthquake in 2010.

The generosity of guests who contributed through a charity raffle, and TRB who donated a percentage from every seat sold, resulted in a fantastic start to the 2018 fund raising by raising €5600.

Olivier Bottrie, President and Co-founder, Hand in Hand for Haiti said: “This is amazing. Let me thank you, WiTR and TRB for this great event and support for HiHH.  Introducing interactive music to our children will give them a sense of joy and real confidence.”

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WiTR members visit the fabulous Changi Terminal 4 (May 2018)

On the eve of TFWA Asia Pacific conference opening, WiTR’s representative in Asia, Chandra Mahtani, Vice President, T5 Commercial Planning (Airside Concessions Division), and her team sacrificed their Sunday morning to give WiTR members a very special tour of Terminal 4 at Changi Airport which commenced operations on 31 October 2017.  T4 is home to several carriers led by Cathay Pacific, Korean Air and AirAsia, and will welcome approximately 8 million passengers in its first year of operations.

The landside check-in and procedures include state-of-the-art self-service technology and unusually passengers can see from landside to airside while admiring the Petalclouds, another of the amazing moving artworks for which Changi Airport is renowned.

Covering 16,000sqm of commercial space, T4 is home to several new and innovative retail concepts.

At the airside area, passengers experience Changi Airport’s first integrated duty-free zone jointly operated by DFS and Shilla for the Liquor & Tobacco and Perfumes & Cosmetics categories respectively. Through their close collaboration with Changi Airport Group, the integrated duty-free zone is able to process pre-orders and purchases from both categories, ensuring a seamless shopping experience.

A range of specialist boutiques line either side of the open lounge area, starting with double-volume façade flagship stores for brands such as TWG which is its largest outlet in the world and The Cocoa Trees which house a carnival-themed concept. This culminates in the Heritage Zone which epitomises the “sense of place”, offering a unique showcase of the Straits Chinese Peranakan culture.  The beautiful shophouse façade, housing an array of well-known and beloved Singaporean brands, is complemented by a sensational immersive three-dimensional story of two families in dispute but with a happy ending in marriage….  Some of us even tried to look the part (see photos).

The hospitality throughout the tour was legendary, starting with a Hendricks cocktail on the experiential bar, tea-sampling with macaroons at the stunning TWG store, tasting of the Singaporean barbecued meats and special cakes, before being hosted for a delicious lunch by local F&B operator Select Group which showcased popular cuisines from various Asian countries.

A big thank you to Chandra and her team, and also to T4 retailers Raelene Johnson (Shilla) and Amy Chan (WH Smith).  As you will see from Chandra’s title, Terminal 5 is next and we can’t wait to see what new benchmark that will set!

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Marking International Women’s Day on 8th March (March 2018)

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women’s Day has been observed for over a century, with the first gathering support from over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

Women in Travel Retail (WiTR) decide to mark the day with a number of activities throughout the world.

We teamed up with the Moodie Davitt Report to celebrate IWD with a branded make-over of the website.

WiTR raises Breast Cancer awareness in Singapore

In Singapore, an intimate and cosy networking-cum-sharing event was held on 8 March 2018, kindly sponsored by Estee Lauder, with the support of WiTR Steering Committee Member Chandra Mahtani (Changi Airport Group).

Held at The Glass House, Hotel Fort Canning, the event attracted over 30 female executives from the travel retail industry, as well as local brands / operators.

Chandra kicked off the night’s programme with a welcome address and an introduction to the WiTR’s vision and efforts. She shared about the WITR’s attractive member benefits such as the member-only area access during tax free shows, networking forums and industry data and research and enticed the guests to sign up as members. She also touched on WiTR’s current fundraising plans for the launch of a music program for children jointly organised with the charity organization, Hand in Hand for Haiti.

The night’s event continued with an inspiring and personal sharing session by two speakers from Estee Lauder’s selected charity, Breast Cancer Foundation.

The audience benefitted from the informative talk by Ms. Anthea Kiu, GM of Breast Cancer Foundation, on breast cancer prevention and detection. Ms. Linda Tam, a breast cancer survivor, touched the audience with an animated and inspirational account of her overcoming the disease.

Ms. Celine Tan, Estee Lauder’s Regional Brand Director for Origins, Glam Glow and Becca, then rounded up the session with a sharing on wellness tips and Estee Lauder’s initiatives for breast cancer.

The guests were treated to a champagne toast session before the start of the networking segment. An exciting lucky draw with prizes sponsored by Pashma, Estee Lauder, FNA and DFS marked the end of a wonderful evening of a successful and lively event. All participants also went home with door gifts generously sponsored by Estee Lauder.


WiTR Pampering Lunch in Dubai

International Women’s Day was celebrated in style in Dubai on March 8th with a special ‘pampering lunch’ organized by WiTR’s regional steering group member Sinead El Sibai of Dubai Duty Free (DDF).

DDF teamed up with Shisedo and Nars to provide WiTR Middle East members with a relaxing skin care and make-up session at the stylish Cuba lounge at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel. A light lunch was served in Cuba, which enjoys spectacular views over the city, with drinks being provided by Bottega.

The 20 women, all of whom are signed up members of WiTR, enjoyed the convivial atmosphere and heard about plans for the WiTR website which will provide members with invaluable industry information as well as practical advice for those who travel frequently.

Speaking at the lunch, Sinead said: “WiTR provides us with a great opportunity to interact with other female executives and share our experiences. The plan is to have WiTR events in our individual regions on a regular basis and I have asked those attending on International Women’s Day to share their thoughts on the kind of events that they feel we should organize, which would help them either from a business or social angle.

“Many thanks to Shisedo, to Nars and to Bottega for helping us host this inaugural event in Dubai” added Sinead.

In London, WiTR members enjoyed a networking meal at The Westminster Kitchen

In Warsaw, a large group women from the industry toasted IWD in the back of a TFWA management committee meeting.

Despite terrible weather in Amsterdam, an event was held at the Kyas Art Salon attended by representatives from PVH, Marchon and Heineken.

While others, such as Kurate International in Ireland, showed their support.

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New WiTR Member incentive scheme with Dubai Duty Free (February 2018)

 The Women in Travel Retail network is gaining momentum with events last month at MEADFA in Dubai, and next in March on International Women’s Day and at the Summit of the Americas in Orlando.


Dubai Duty Free senior officials headed by Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman & CEO with Ramesh Cidambi, Chief Operating Officer, Salah Tahlak, Executive Vice President-Corporate Services and Sinead El Sibai, Senior Vice President-Marketing, conducting the Millennium Millionaire Draw to win US$1million in Series 262, won by Mr Pacicco with ticket no. 4548. A Canadian national from Quebec, Mr Paccico is the seventh Canadian to win in the US$1 million promotion since its inception in 1999.


The members section of the website is being expanded to include a Data and Resources section to help you understand the latest in our fast-moving industry, and to make stunning presentations packed with facts and insight. There’s also a Health & Well-being section under development.

All this – and more – for £25 per year!

Become a member of WiTR with three friends before the end of March and you are in with a chance to win a ticket (worth Dhs1,000… c. GBP200) which will be entered into the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire draw.

The 80 members who have already joined WiTR can also participate by encouraging three new members to join.

How to be part of this: when your three friends have joined, send their names to  Your own name will then be entered in the draw which closes on March 31st at midday CET.  The draw will be made from those names before midnight (CET) on March 31st.

If you are lucky enough to be the winner of a ticket, you will receive an email from WiTR followed by confirmation from Dubai Duty Free.

For information, the winner of the ticket has the chance to win US$1 million when their ticket is entered into the Millennium Millionaire draw. There is a total of 5,000 tickets in each series.  The Millennium Millionaire draw was introduced by Dubai Duty Free in late 1999 to mark the new millennium and the opening of the new retail area in Terminal 1. To date, DDF has created 265 dollar millionaire. There are 6 winners who have won twice over the years, now that is some luck!

Good luck!

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Introducing WanderSafe: a travel safety application (February 2018)

WanderSafe is a travel safety application created by women for women and will be free to use. WanderSafe is a female-led and founded innovator created by travel retail marketing veteran Stephenie Rodriguez. She created WanderSafe as the solution to frequent travelers who need real time safety information curated and delivered on mobile. The application allows for view real time heat maps on where danger has a potential, warn users when they are entering a potentially volatile zone, and deliver relevant travel tips by verified users. WanderSafe is democratizing travel safety and empowering its users to share their knowledge in a fun and secure way.

WanderSafe supports four UN Sustainable Development Goals including Gender Equality, Empowering Women, and sustainable innovation. Together we can reduce human trafficking and make travel better & safer no matter how far you wander.


How Can you Help?

1) Fill out a quick survey about your last trip, rate your destination, and leave a travel hack for a future WanderSafe user. – Be a WanderSafe Hero!

2) Share the Survey with your friends, colleagues and travel buddies.

3) Connect with us on social media and pledge your support to #SistersInSafety on International Women’s Day – March 8, 2018

To find out more, download a Wandersafe overview presentation here or visit

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