Ten years on, and a different ball game

Having begun its sports marketing with snooker, Dubai Duty Free made a move into tennis, one that would have lasting and hugely positive consequences for the brand and the sport. It launched the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Open, sowing the seeds for what would become a world-class event. In the same year the company launched the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup, which runs successfully to this day as an invitation-only gathering of golfers from around the world (and of notoriously varying abilities) of travel retail.

Karel Novácek, winner of the inaugural Dubai Duty Free Tennis Open, receives his trophy from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid AI Maktoum, UAE Minister of Defence, at a ceremony attended by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed AI Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation; His Highness Sheikh Hasher AI Maktoum, President of the UAE Tennis Association; Mohi-Din Binhendi; Colm McLoughlin; Anita Mehra, Dubai Duty Free Marketing Executive Salah Tahlak and BMW officials.

US$133 million

Dubai Duty Free’s annual sales

The Dubai Tennis Stadium, a temporary structure inside The Aviation Club, hosted the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open.

Staff party at the Forte Grand Hotel to celebrate the company's tenth anniversary.

British national Chris Keogh is the lucky winner of the 200th edition of the Finest Surprise draw in July, taking home a Bentley.

The annual Dubai Duty Free Golf Cup is established. Indian national Suman Sachdev takes home the trophy awarded by Colm McLoughlin and Anita Mehra.

Colm and Breeda McLoughlin and Jacqui and Tom Barry of Arabtec prepare for the first Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup. With the Dubai Desert Classic and the Dubai Duty Free Golf Cup in its sponsorship portfolio, Dubai Duty Free decides to host an industry tournament, which is today the highlight of the travel retail social calendar.

The team of Niall McLoughlin at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club with its iconic clubhouse in the background, designed in the shape of the sails of the traditional Arabian dhow.

Steve Flanagan and Takako Asaki are the winners of the first Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup. Flanagan won the title again in 1996. They are seen here with Colm McLoughlin and International Tax-Free Trader Publisher John Kennedy, whose title helped launch the event.

Leadership drive: Colm McLoughlin tees off at the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup. The inaugural event attracted duty free and aviation industry representatives from all over the world.

The Moodie Davitt e-Zine | Spotlight Series – Special Report | 20 December 2018