October 08th, 2019

Lagardère Travel Retail unveils new duty free concept dedicated to diplomats

Lagardère Travel Retail is proud to unveil a new duty free concept dedicated to diplomats, Aelia Duty Free for diplomats.

Since October 1st, Swiss diplomats, their families and delegates have access to a brand new 350sq m Aelia Duty Free shop located in the heart of the Geneva, a stone’s throw from the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. As the only diplomatic store of the Swiss Confederation, this new Aelia Duty Free store offers all core duty free categories, along with fashion and accessories.

Access to the shop is restricted to diplomats and their families holding a B or C legitimation card. Foreign delegates are also eligible during their stay in Switzerland with a valid 14.65 form. Purchases of duty-free items are submitted to customs regulations. Access to the duty-free shop and shopping is a non-transferable right reserved for the persons who are eligible.

Pascal Le Droff, CEO of Lagardère Travel Retail Switzerland commented, “We are very proud to take over this duty free diplomatic store. This is a milestone for our development in Switzerland and we are now the only duty free operator in French-speaking Switzerland. After having won the Geneva Airport duty free tender 2 years ago, this new activity allows us to expand and diversify our operations. Diplomats are very different from airport passengers and it is an exciting challenge to roll out a new concept Aelia Duty Free for diplomats to address their specific needs.”

Lagardère Travel Retail Switzerland operates 7 duty free stores at Geneva Airport under the brand Aelia Duty Free and opened a brand new The Fashion Gallery in August.

Geneva was the perfect place to launch this diplomatic duty free business as it is at the forefront of multilateral diplomacy with 40 international organisations including United Nations, 179 states represented and 750 non-governmental organizations. The city is the most active center of global governance, with more than 3,000 meetings annually gathering 207,000 delegates from all around the world. 

Caroline Maurs, Director of Operations and Business Development in Switzerland added, “Diplomats crave exceptional experiences. This new store gives us a fantastic opportunity to develop a new commercial approach. We have created a luxury concierge service to offer much more than retail via bespoke services such as personal shoppers, make-up and skincare treatments, shoe shining, VIP liquor tastings, as well as restaurant and hotel booking and ticketing...We want to give preferential treatment to the diplomatic community in Switzerland. We already have repeat customers and we will strengthen this one-to-one relationship further in 2020 with a dedicated loyalty program.“

Lagardère Travel Retail steps up in the diplomatic market with a brick-and-mortar store and has great ambitions to grow its footprint worldwide and go omnichannel. This opening in Geneva is the second diplomatic store opened by the global retailer this month, following the acquisition of International Duty Free, that operates a diplomatic store in Nairobi, Kenya.