Membership Benefits

Benefits of UK Travel Retail Forum membership

The UKTRF fulfils a vital role in keeping its members informed of all potential changes to legislation which could affect their business and provides information and support to individual members who have specific issues arising from legislative requirements. Where necessary, UKTRF represents the interests of its members to  Ministers and officials, both in the UK and in the EU.

The UKTRF is the only UK trade association specifically devoted to protecting the interests of the duty-free and travel retail business. In particular, Members benefit from

  • Being part of an experienced team dedicated to protecting the interests of travel retail.
  • Access to the latest industry data.
  • The strength of a unified industry representation on key issues of concern.
  • Regular and accurate information on the status and progress of legislative issues.
  • Linking into other European and world-wide organisations concerned with travel retail and duty-free.
  • Networking opportunities – many of the industry’s most senior and respected executives are active in UKTRF affairs.

Since its formation in 2000, UKTRF has helped to grow the duty free and travel retail channel and saved the industry many millions of pounds by ensuring that any legislation recognises the uniqueness of this retail channel.

Here is a summary of some of the achievements:

Aviation Security.  UKTRF played a significant role in helping the ETRC to secure new arrangements to facilitate passengers’ purchases of liquids and gels in the light of the strict security requirements introduced in August 2006.  This is a major on-going issue which is covered in more detail in the Aviation Security section.

The Excise Goods (Accompanying Documents) Regulations 2002. In conjunction with HMRC, UKTRF helped redraft the wording of these regulations, resulting in the exemption of airlines from some of the more onerous provisions. This saved UK airlines between £2-3 million in system changes and a further £1 million per annum in on-going costs.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Controls (FCTC). UKTRF played a major role in opposing the WHO proposal for a world-wide ban on the duty-free sale of tobacco products by arguing that it would not be in the UK’s best interests to agree to a mandatory ban in the Treaty. This was accepted by the UK Government. Had the ban been implemented, UK operators alone would have lost sales in excess of £100 million per annum. UKTRF has continued to support the industry in developing alternative approaches when challenges to duty-free sales of tobacco have emerged and continues to do so.

The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display)(England) Regulations 2010.  Following the issue of a major consultation document on the future of tobacco control on 31 May 2008, one of the measures the Department of Health decided to adopt was a ban on the display of tobacco products in all retail environments.  However, as a result of consultation with UKTRF, the Department of Health accepted  that airport duty-free shops were a unique environment, totally different from the High Street, and this was reflected in the legislation.

HMRC July 2003 Proposals to Combat Alcohol Fraud. As a result of discussions with UKTRF, the Government took stock of the negative impact its initial proposals would have had on the sector and changed its approach.  The original proposal would have limited the number of movements of goods in duty suspension, which would have entailed additional costs of at least £2million per annum for travel retail operators.

The Duty Stamps Regulations 2005. Through UKTRF’s effective engagement with Excise officials,  HMRC gained a clearer understanding of the unique travel retail wines and spirits offer and agreed that travel retail outlets (export shops and Registered Mobile Operators) should be exempt from the Government’s new Duty Stamp scheme for spirits.

Duty-Free Wines and Spirits. Close co-operation between  UKTRF and ETRC’ helped ensure that a proposal from WHO in December 2009 for a world-wide ban on duty-free sales of alcohol was dropped from its programme in 2010.

Accounting for Excise Duty on Goods Consumed On-board. UKTRF has worked with HMRC over a number of years to bring about a change in excise legislation to allow airlines and their concessionaires to load aircraft, which have flight programmes that include a wholly domestic leg, with duty-suspended alcohol for consumption onboard and account for duty at the point of sale. Previously, they had to load all products duty-paid and were unable to obtain a refund of tax where the sale was duty free as it took place on an international flight.  The result of the new legislation, introduced in April 2015, is that airlines and their concessionaires no longer pay duty where it is not due and HMRC now has a better understanding of the amount of  UK excise duty  arising from this business. More details can be found in HMRC’s Public Notice 69a.