Good prospects in store for Africa’s travel retail sector?

While African airports rely heavily on aviation charges and fees as their primary sources of income, new investment in travel retail and duty-free concessions is paving the way for growth in the sector.

Aelia duty free Tanzania
Opportunity: Lagardère, alongside Bevco Limited, was awarded a concession at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam in February. Picture: Lagardère.

According to a report by TR Business, retail concessions at Africa’s airports in 2019 accounted for 37% of total non-aeronautical revenue, outperforming the global average of 26.4%.

In December 2021, Lagardère Travel Retail opened an Aelia duty free store at Banjul Airport in The Gambia. The travel retail specialist also unveiled its new duty free store and food and beverage concept – Kepar Café – at Nouakchott-Oumtounsy International Airport in Mauritania.

Lagardère, alongside Bevco Limited, was also awarded a concession at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam in February this year. The agreement, which was awarded by the Tanzanian Airports Authority, includes a concession to operate two duty free stores in the airport’s recently opened Terminal 3.

Frédéric Chevalier, COO EMEA at Lagardère Travel Retail, revealed his company has “significant growth ambitions” for its operations on the African continent.

Meanwhile, at Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume International Airport, Emirates Leisure Retail (ELR) will partner with Maritime Mercantile International (MMI) as master concessionaire for all food and beverage, duty free, and commercial outlets in Terminal 3.

“The airport has been identified by the government as a key investment and redevelopment pillar to support Zanzibar’s growing travel and tourism economy,” said Andrew Day, group CEO of ELR and MMI.

“As a key destination for international travellers, it is our ambition to contribute to shaping a long-term legacy for Zanzibar by creating an innovative, seamless and dynamic travel retail environment.”

While Zanzibar represents ELR’s first significant expansion into Africa, the company plans to build on this in the future.

“Every market has its own challenges and opportunities and the African market is one that particularly excites us,” Day said. “Many governments are keen to encourage the travel and tourism sector across the continent and the key challenge will be in developing solutions that best fit with the nuances of each country.”

Chloe Greenbank

Chloe Greenbank

Chloe Greenbank wrote her first airline magazine article two decades ago and has been immersed in aviation magazines ever since.