Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin will be recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution in shaping Dubai’s tourism, hospitality and retail sectors.
The award will be presented at the Middle East Hospitality Awards (MEHA) that will take place at the Ritz-Carlton DIFC on 18 September.
The award recognises McLoughlin’s commitment to promoting Dubai globally in line with the directive received from HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai when setting up Dubai Duty Free in 1983.
“I am thrilled and delighted that I have been selected to receive this award,” said McLoughlin. “I attribute it absolutely and totally to our team of staff and the effort they make in making our business successful and of course to my chairman HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum who has been terrific support at Dubai Duty Free and our other operations since the beginning.”
McLoughlin explained that the airport retailer spends 2.5% of its annual turnover, which in 2018 reached US$2.015 billion, in promoting Dubai Duty Free and the city of Dubai.
Dubai Duty Free’s long-standing association with international sporting events such as Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the horse racing at Newbury and Ascot in the UK, and Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh in Ireland, and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open held at Lahinch Golf Club in Co. Clare, Ireland have all been instrumental in promoting Dubai globally.
“36 years ago there were two or three thousand hotel rooms in Dubai,” said McLoughlin. “We have seen a big change from that in the industry. Like shopping malls, airlines and roadworks, the hotel industry is part and parcel of the system that is essential in promoting tourism and visitors to Dubai.”
McLoughlin added that he believes the exponential growth of Dubai and its hospitality sector is down to “Dubai Government’s positive and definite attitude to make it work and make it the best in the world”.
Earlier this year, The Moodie Davitt Report presented a special video tribute to McLoughlin who celebrated his 50th anniversary in the duty free industry on 1 June.