Year in Review
Blogs of the Year
The Moodie Blog was launched in 2008, travel retail’s first (and still only) Blog and since inception one of our most popular features, writes Martin Moodie. In The Moodie Blog, kindly sponsored by Victorinox, I like to get ‘up close and personal in travel retail’ as the tagline has it. I try to bring a personal flavour – whether it be humorous, poignant or critical – to my experiences. Here are some of my favourites from a year that will remain unforgettable, albeit mostly for bad reasons.
28 January 2020
Counting the most important cost of a health crisis
I covered (and ran a business) through the SARS outbreak of 2003 and know what commercial carnage follows in the wake of any epidemic-related travel downturn. As I have told my team, it is a time where we must excel as a news and business intelligence service but function prudently as a business. There are rocky weeks and perhaps months ahead for our industry but ultimately they pale in comparison to the human cost of such a crisis.
Lotte Duty Free staff at the information desk on the tenth floor of the Seoul Myeong-dong store, as increased protections against the virus are introduced
5 February 2020
Tales of class, from Dan Carter to Christian Courtin-Clarins
I realised that in Clarins you have a group that can foot it with and sometimes exceed the biggest (and boy are they big) and best beauty houses in terms of R&D, product creation, packaging, marketing, merchandising and CSR.
(Left to right) Clarins CEO Jonathan Zrihen, Martin Moodie, Christian Courtin-Clarins and Christian Laurent
25 March 2020
My Wilson moment in the Moodie Davitt Castaway Bureau
I turned towards the door, took the photo of a place normally vibrant with the chatter of my colleagues, now laid silent and empty. I (unaccountably) walked back, patted the rugby ball and said “Look after the place”. I felt like the FedEx executive, Chuck Nolan, played by Tom Hanks in the film Castaway who gets stranded on a desert island after his plane crashes in the South Pacific. To help him remain sane and feel less isolated, he paints a face on a volleyball that he nicknames Wilson and begins talking to. I guess it was my Wilson moment.
Wilson (the original) from Castaway
Airport codes 2020-style
6 April 2020
How OFC became the world’s busiest airport
BKY and PAT have been experiencing big surges in weekend volumes, while traffic through WNC (which now offers direct connections to/from DNR and PAT) has hit unexpected all-time highs.
8 April 2020
Gone to spend some time with the Angel from Montgomery
My lament to great American songwriter John Prine – So if you’re walking down the street sometime/And spot some hollow ancient eyes/Please don’t just pass ‘em by and stare/As if you didn’t care, say, “Hello in there, hello”.
Chaps Holland, with his lovely wife Eleen, puts a brave face on it after the last significant rugby international between his beloved England and the All Blacks, played at Twickenham in November 2018, won by the New Zealand side 16-15
19 April 2020
How Chaps Holland learned to never wash alone
Gerry Marsden would be reaching for his Pacemaker if he ever heard the travel retail reworking of his (and originally Rodgers & Hammerstein’s) song that became a famous Liverpool FC anthem.
29 April 2020
In loving memory – A tribute in words and music to Sheila Geoghegan
I saw the danger, yet I passed along the enchanted way; And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.
Sheila with her then young sons (left to right) Conor, Niall and Barry
28 May 2020
Arise you Freeman of Sweny’s
My mother broke my heart and ruined my career aspirations at an early age when she told me, “Son, with a face like your’s, it has to be radio.”
I was often close to shedding my own writer’s tears this year but those above represented a much happier story
4 June 2020
Pointing out the Wights and wrongs of UK offshore duty free
My suggestion of a Hainan-style offshore duty free initiative on a sleepy English island made the local front pages but drew the predictable scorn of locals – I’m pretty confident that my Dufry Isle of Wight Offshore Duty Free store, paying a healthy rent (variable of course) to the local authorities, could add a whole lot to tourism and spending numbers.
Offshore duty free is off limits in the UK
9 June 2020
Scaling the mountain and remembering those beginning the ascent
10 years on from my stomach cancer diagnosis I wrote this Blog – I suppose the fact that this is now June 2020 means that I did scale that mountain. Others I know and care about are just at the foothills, a long and difficult ascent ahead.
Remembering a hellish ascent
27 June 2020
Live from the Lough Down Bureau: A Fiscal Wonder as The Moodie Tipster picks the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby results
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, The Moodie Tipster is currently self-isolating in Lough Down, a pretty little lake in County Galway.
A flash back to normal times when the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby was run in front of packed crowds. This year’s race took place behind closed doors, due to COVID-19 lockdown measures.
30 July 2020
High ambition at Hamad International, high anxiety in Hong Kong
I wrote this Blog during my last international trip, five months ago – Thabet is in especially upbeat mood at present thanks to his beloved Liverpool recently being crowned Premiership champions in the UK, their first title in 30 years. I swear I could still see the smile on his face through the face mask he donned during our meeting.
Men behind the masks: Martin Moodie and Thabet Musleh begin judging of The QDF Factor before a tour of the exciting retail development in the south node at Hamad International Airport
2 August 2020
Mad Donalds and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun
In travel retail parlance it’s like a Buy One, Get One Free promotion – Get a tan and your complimentary coronavirus!
Not far from the madding crowd
22 October 2020
Flying a virtual A380 through a pandemic
How our virtual expo became reality – It was like being the Captain of the just relaunched Singapore Airlines A380 flight from New York to Singapore (9,536.5 miles from JFK to Changi), switching over occasionally to my excellent Irish co-pilot Dermot Davitt on the Knowledge Hub sessions.
Wearing my Captain’s Zoom suit (smart shirt and jacket on top, shorts and slippers out of sight below).
Two famous masked men waiting for a Scotsman so they can start the joke
12 December 2020
Eastern calm, aviation chaos and putting a sticking plaster on a pandemic
Down below in the churning waters, some hardy souls take their daily swim, while by the cross-harbour ferry terminal to North Point an early morning Tai Chi class and an elderly couple line-fishing from a rickety boat add to the timeless eastern calm.
As New Zealand pop group Split Enz once sang: ‘I just spent six months in a leaky boat/Lucky just to keep afloat’ – I think we all know the feeling. Make that 12 months though.
20 December 2020
Switching tack amid ever-changing winds
What worked (or didn’t) in 2020 might not get the same result next year. Anticipate the next gust of favourable wind, constantly keep watch for the adverse variety.
Sunrise in Hong Kong but I can’t wait for the sun to set on 2020
The Moodie Davitt eZine
Issue 289 | 21 December 2020
The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 15 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd).
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