Dubai Duty Free opened for business on December 20th 1983 and has grown to become one of the leading airport retailers in the world with sales turnover of Dhs5.9 billion (US$1.6 billion) in 2012.
Its founding principal of providing travellers with a first class retail experience in a shopper-friendly environment and a diverse range of products still holds true to this day.
Employing 6000 people, the operation has consistently raised the benchmark for airport retailing in the Middle East.
To date, Dubai Duty Free has received around 300 awards which bear testimony to the operation’s retail success including being named the ‘Best Airport in Duty Free Shopping’ presented at the Business Traveller Middle East Awards; “Patron of the Arts” at the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patron of the Arts Awards; “Middle East Travel Retailer of the Year” from DFNI Asia Pacific; the “Superbrands Awards for Excellence in Branding” received from Superbrands Council UAE; the Global Traveller US Magazine award for “Best Duty Free Shop”; and the Frontier “Best Airport Retailer of the Year” received by the operation for an unprecedented sixth time.
At the 7th International Sports Event Management (ISEM) Awards held in London in November, the winning trophy in the Event Marketing category was presented to Dubai Duty Free for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 2013. The airport retailer, which owns and organizes the WTA and ATP tournament, faced strong competition from other international sporting events to emerge as the winner in this highly competitive field.
At the 25th Annual American Celtic Ball hosted by the Irish Chamber of Commerce USA (ICCUSA), Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free was presented with the “Sir Michael Smurfit Business Achievement Award” at the ceremony held in New York in October. The prestigious award recognizes his leadership over the past thirty years and joins a list of renowned business leaders from Ireland who have won this award in light of their significant contribution to international business.
With the opening of Concourse A in January 2013 which is dedicated to Emirates Airline’s A380 fleet, Dubai Duty Free now operates 26,000 square metres of retail space across Terminals 1, 2 and 3. The opening of Concourse A will be followed by the opening of Concourse D in 2015. Also, with the opening of the passenger terminal at Al Maktoum International, Dubai Duty Free has 2,500 square metres of retail space and retail offer are on par with the facilities in Dubai International Airport presented in an extremely attractive and convenient shopping environment.
Meanwhile, Dubai Duty Free’s Leisure Division which operates The Irish Village and the Century Village, opened its first hotel - the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel. The 292-room five-star property is managed by Dubai-based Jumeirah Group.
Dubai Duty Free also inaugurated its first border shop located next to the Customs and Immigration offices at the Hatta-Oman border in July last year. The retail unit covers some 42 square metres and provides a convenient stop off point 24/7 for travellers crossing to and from Dubai.
On 20th December, Dubai Duty Free celebrates its 30th Anniversary which is sure to signal another sales milestone for the airport retailer with an expected turnover of US$1.8 billion this year.
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.
Dubai Duty Free is a founding sponsor of the Dubai World Cup, the richest horse race in the world. 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 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.