Dubai Duty Free reflects on 40 years of success at ATM 2023

Dubai Duty Free reflects on 40 years of success at ATM 2023
  • Dubai Duty Free has played an important role in shaping Dubai’s reputation as a top international tourist destination says Executive Vice Chairman & CEO Colm McLoughlin
  • McLoughlin was presented with the prestigious ATM Pearl Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Travel Industry, a special award created for ATM’s 30th edition

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 3 May 2023: Dubai Duty Free helped to strengthen Dubai’s reputation as a leading international tourist destination, said Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin as he took to the Global Stage today at Arabian Travel Market 2023.

In a fascinating conversation with Euro News Dubai Bureau Chief Jane Witherspoon, McLoughlin recalled highlights from four decades at the helm of Dubai Duty Free and shared the organisation’s plans for the future.     

Dubai Duty Free is one of the largest duty free operations in a single airport in the world and covers a total retail area of 40,000 square metres across Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport. In addition, Dubai Duty Free has raised the profile of the city of Dubai through the promotion of high-profile international events such as the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which generates over US$1 billion in TV exposure for Dubai.

McLoughlin said: “Over the past 40 years, it has become increasingly important that the entire journey is enjoyable for the passenger, and a key part of this journey is spent at Dubai Duty Free.”  

McLoughlin arrived in the UAE in July 1983 as part of the consultancy team from Aer Rianta, the Irish Airport Authority, which was contracted by the Dubai Government to launch a new duty-free operation at Dubai International Airport. He has remained at Dubai Duty Free since then and became Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the organisation and its subsidiary businesses in 2011.

Under his leadership, Dubai Duty Free grew from a US$20 million company in 1984 to a $1.74 billion operation last year, with 2023 sales expected to reach over US$2 billion. Aligning with the ‘Working towards net zero’ theme of ATM 2023, Dubai Duty Free will be increasingly emphasising CSR initiatives and sustainability in the coming years.

During the session today, McLoughlin was presented with the Pearl Award, a prestigious award created especially for the 30th edition of ATM. Presenting the award, Danielle Curtis Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “It is an absolute privilege to present you with the prestigious Pearl Award. This is fitting tribute to a stalwart in the tourism industry and someone who resonates with many of the ideologies behind the award, including wisdom, enlightenment and longevity.

“I am delighted to share this accolade with you in recognition of the incredible contribution that Dubai Duty Free, under your stewardship, has made to tourism and the economy, in a career that spans over 40 years. We thank you for all that you’ve done and wish you even more success in the future.”

McLoughlin concluded: “I’m absolutely thrilled and excited to receive this award and I would like to thank the team and staff at Dubai Duty Free, and of course our chairman H.H Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

“Looking to the future, it is important that we keep on evolving and moving forwards delivering a ‘better tomorrow’ for travellers. We need to ensure that we continue to raise the benchmark when it comes to customer experiences while also adopting sustainable practices which protect and future-proof our environment.”

ATM 2023 is held in conjunction with Dubai World Trade Centre and its strategic partners include Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) as the Destination Partner, Emirates as the Official Airline Partner, IHG Hotels & Resorts as the Official Hotel Partner and Al Rais Travel as the Official DMC Partner.

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About Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 30th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2022 attracted over 24,000 visitors and hosted over 31,000 participants, including 1,600 exhibitors and attendees from 151 countries, across 10 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #ATMDubai

Last in-person event: Monday 1 to Thursday 4 May 2023, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai    

About Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2023. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes ILTM Arabia, ARIVAL Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, ITIC, GBTA Business Travel Forums, as well as ATM Travel Tech. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as a series of country forums.     

About RX (Reed Exhibitions) RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organisations. We elevate the power of face to face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at approximately 400 events in 22 countries across 42 industry sectors. RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people.  RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.

About RELX RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. RELX serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs more than 35,000 people over 40% of whom are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX.

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