Dubai Duty Free opened for business on 20th December 1983 and over the past three decades, it has grown to become one of the leading airport retailers in the world.
Employing over 6,000 people, it has consistently raised the benchmark for airport retailing and it continues to grow. Dubai Duty Free currently operates some 26,000 square metres of retail space at Dubai International Airport and a further 7,000 square metres with the opening of Concourse D this year and 2,500 square metres at Al Maktoum International (AMI) - Dubai South.
To date, Dubai Duty Free has received over 500 awards which bear testimony to the operation’s retail success including being named the “Airport Retailer of the Year in Single Location” and “Best Marketing Campaign of the Year by a Retailer” at the prestigious Frontier Awards in Cannes; ”, US Global Traveler Award “Best Duty Free Shop”, the UK World Branding Awards “Brand of the Year (Retail-Duty Free)”, DFNI Asia Pacific Awards For Travel-Retail Excellence “Middle East Travel Retailer Of The Year”, Superbrands Awards ME and the Business Traveller Middle East Award “Best Airport For Duty Free Shopping in the Middle East”, among others.
In the past year alone, Colm McLoughlin was presented with several awards including the Best Business Leader in Retail in Decemmber. Organised by MENAA Award Organization and attended by over 200 senior regional executives, the awards aimed to celebrate and recognise the achievement of the top leaders in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.
In 2014, Colm McLoughlin was named one of the “People of the Year” by The Moodie Report, a highly-respected online industry publication, “Best Manager of the Year” at the Europe Business Assembly’s Socrates Awards held in London. In September of this year Colm received the 4th Asian Leadership Award “Hall of Fame” award and also in September he was presented with the “Outstanding Contribution to Business” Award at the CEO Middle East Awards organised by ITP Publishing.
While the successful running of the shopfloor is a major focus for Dubai Duty Free, the operation is highly committed to promoting Dubai through a series of high level sporting events including the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which is owned and organized by Dubai Duty Free.
Meanwhile, Dubai Duty Free's subsidiary businesses include The Irish Village, The Century Village and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium; home to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Located on the same site in Garhoud, the recently opened Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, which encompasses the Aviation Club, is owned and developed by Dubai Duty Free and is managed by the Jumeirah Group. The hotel, which opened in July 2012 is already proving to be a popular business and leisure property. In close proximity to Dubai’s international airport it is a five star hotel of international standards. There are 292 spacious rooms and suites offering guests a refreshing interpretation of luxury and an authentic experience of Dubai. The Irish Village Bar and Restaurant in Dubai is also owned and run by Dubai Duty Free. A winner of several industry awards and named by Newsweek International as one of the ‘top ten meeting places in the world’, it continues to attract visitors from all over the world.
Dubai Duty Free 32nd Anniversary
Dubai Duty Free marked its 32nd anniversary with a special 25% discount on a wide range of merchandise over three days which began at midnight on 17th December and continued until midnight on the operation’s anniversary day on 20th December. Total sales for the three days topped Dhs178.5 million (US$48.5 million).
The 32nd Anniversary celebrations saw a series of cake cutting ceremonies in various locations which commenced on 16th December in DDF head office and Al Maktoum International, at Terminal 2 and Concourse A on 17th December and on the actual anniversary day, 20th December, at Terminal 1 Concourse C and Terminal 3 Concourse B.
Dubai Duty Free opened for business 32 years ago (20 December 1983) and employed just 100 management and staff. Astoundingly, 33 of them remain to this day.
Dubai Duty Free is currently operating over 26,000 square metres of retail space at Dubai International Airport (DIA), the retail footprint will expand by a further 7,000 square metres with the opening of Concourse D in 2015. This new concourse will cover some 65,000 square metres and will be the home to the 100 airlines that currently operate from DIA’s Terminal 1, Concourse C.
Meanwhile, the Dubai Duty Free operation at Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central continues to do well and covers 2,500 square metres. In the long term, the airport has capacity for over 220 million passengers and ultimately, the retail operation will cover some 80,000 square metres.
In another important expansion, The Irish Village which is part of Dubai Duty Free’s Leisure portfolio, was officially inaugurated by Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD. The new extension, which overlooks the lake and the DDF-owned Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, has increased the restaurant’s outdoor capacity by 70%. The Irish Village is known for its live concerts and famous Irish artists performing there have included Bob Geldof, Mary Black, Sharon Shannon, Dara O’ Briain and Tommy Tiernan.
Whether it is on the golfing green, the tennis courts, the racecourse or even the high seas, sponsorship and the support of international events has been an integral part of Dubai Duty Free’s marketing strategy since 1983.
A supporter of golf for many years, Dubai Duty Free is a proud sponsor of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the Ladies European Tour Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, held every year at Emirates Golf Club.
In addition to this, Dubai Duty Free hosts a series of high-profile golf tournaments, including the annual Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup, Dubai Duty Free UAE Nationals Cup, Dubai Duty Free Golf Cup and Dubai Irish Golf Society tournament.
Away from the golfing fairways, the firm tennis favourite with UAE tennis fans and a global TV audience is the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, owned and organized by Dubai Duty Free. The event comprises a WTA Premier 5 tournament played back-to-back with an ATP World Tour Series 500 Tournament.
International horse racing has provided an excellent medium for Dubai Duty Free to capture the global media attention and the Dubai Duty Free Stakes in the UK in April, the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup (Ascot) in August, the Dubai Duty Free International Raceday in September are part of the operation’s racing sponsorship in the UK. The operation is also the title sponsor of one of the biggest races in Europe, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, which is held at the Curragh Racecourse in Ireland each June.
By supporting so many events at the highest level and all around the globe, Dubai Duty Free is effectively promoting Dubai’s sporting, leisure and business facilities, which are second to none. And with more and more world-class sportspeople choosing Dubai to showcase their talent, there is set to be much more to come in the future.
Corporate Social Responsibility
In October 2004, DDF launched the Dubai Duty Free Foundation, a charitable body founded under the auspices of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, to organise its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and, most importantly, raise funds for worthy causes, specifically those aimed at benefiting children. The Foundation has since donated funds to several charities, both at home and abroad, and plays an active role in helping families and children in need.
In 2008, Dubai Duty Free established its own Corporate Responsibility (CR) department in-house under which the Dubai Duty Free Foundation is managed. In addition, the CR department is committed to reducing the Environmental impacts and health and safety risks associated with the storage and retailing of goods. It is the Company’s policy to operate an Integrated Management System in accordance with ISO 14001: 2004 and OHSAS 18001: 2007.