Something Different: 5 talking points for Cannes in 2023

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By Marco Passoni

In one week’s time we will be back in Cannes for the 2023 TFWA World Exhibition. It is an exciting event for me as it is the first time I have attended Cannes since the pandemic and I cannot wait to sit round tables with colleagues and partners, old and new, to help shape ideas which can build all of our businesses going forward.

Every year many of the same topics arise in Cannes – business model, digital, the rise of Asia (or delayed return as it currently is) – but this year, I hope and believe, we will see many discussions surrounding more specific issues and ones which will bring real action, rather than empty words.

Here are the talking points on my agenda for Cannes.

Real action on sustainability

Putting sustainability on the agenda is not a new thing – everyone is talking about it and have been for years. But this year must see an end to greenwashing and pointless claims and promises. We must begin to hold ourselves and our partners to a higher standard. Introducing some recycled plastic and using organic ingredients? That is not sustainable leadership. This year we must not allow lip-service to go unchallenged. Real change can only come if we hold ourselves and our partners to the highest levels.


Recognising the power of F&B

If we are to create real, unique newness in the travel retail sector, then I truly believe that F&B is one of the keys to taking our industry to the next level. The examples such as the Loubibar, or Max Mara and B&C’s collaboration in Shanghai, have shown that bringing together luxury brands and an F&B offer takes the brand experience to the next level and creates something memorable for shoppers. If travel retail wants to offer something that travellers really need, and something they want and will come back for, this is a very large, untapped opportunity.


Taking AI seriously

ChatGPT has arrived and is already making waves and it has the ability to revolutionise how we do business – from speeding up processes to analysing data, or tailoring services and freeing up our staff to help enhance customer service, AI is an innovation which has the legs to take us a long way, but the time to act on it, to test it and to work with it is now. Failure to grasp digital opportunities just leaves space for someone else to do so.

20partners 287_0 Something Different: 5 talking points for Cannes in 2023 Journal  travel retail

A true collaborative future

Creating real newness means bringing together concepts and brands that have never been seen together before – and never can outside of travel retail. Cannes is the perfect platform to put together people and ideas and make something new for our consumers. I am looking forward to asking not what our colleagues can do for us, but what we can do together to make this market stronger.


Time to make the most out of our people

Our people are our frontline and our real difference-makers. They are what sets our service apart and what can really bring our brand to life for shoppers. The question for each of us must be how can we equip our staff to ensure that the travel retail experience is like no other. We all have access to data and insights, and our people need every bit of that. Well-trained and well-inspired, they are the key to our future.


I look forward to seeing many of you in Cannes, where I will be joined by the 2.0 & Partners team; if you would like to meet us please email me on

Marco Passoni has decades of experience in the travel retail sector. He has spent the majority of his career in senior leader positions throughout the market, including a 12-year tenure as CEO of a leading international Duty Free distribution company and a further 8 years running a retail firm that operated fashion mono-brand stores in several international airports.
Today, as Senior Executive VP and founding partner of 2.0 & Partners, he leads the company’s efforts in developing and innovating services which create new opportunities and partnerships for all members of the travel retail Trinity. A former elite-level sailor, with a World Championship to his name, Marco now spends much of his time airside, experiencing the changing travel retail industry first-hand, to better guide partners and clients on the best way to do business in this vibrant and unique market.