Dubai Duty Free marks four decades of dynamism

By Kristiane Sherry |

Dubai Duty Free marked its 40th anniversary with myriad celebrations, including a cake cutting.

Dubai Duty Free marked its 40th anniversary with myriad celebrations, including a cake cutting.

Travel retailer Dubai Duty Free (DDF) has marked “40 years of retailing service” with an array of promotions and prize draws, including naming its latest Millennium Millionaire winner.

The milestone 40th anniversary was marked across Dubai International and Al Maktoum International airports with a special 25% discount on a wide range of products today (20 December).

It kicked off a spending spree, with DDF suggesting the extra sales will drive a strong year-end.

Celebrations ran across DDF locations in the last few days. The executive team, led by Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, marked the occasion at Al Maktoum Terminal 2. 

Additional festivities took place at DDF’s Head Office in Ramoul, as well as at Terminal 3 Concourse A, Hatta Border Shop and Terminal 1 Concourse D in Dubai International Airport.

On 20 December, the day started with a celebration breakfast at The Irish Village in Garhoud. The winner of the The Dubai Duty Free Shopping List radio promotion with Dubai 92, was announced. The top prize was a AED40,000/US$11,005 Dubai Duty Free Gift Card, won by Sophia Rasundra.

A traditional cake-cutting ceremony took place with the executive team at Dubai International’s Terminal 3 Concourse C, and at the Control Tower.



Another celebration was held at Concourse B where the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire and Finest Surprise draws were also held. Prior to the announcement, the Dubai Duty Free Nightingales choral group sang Christmas carols.

The winner of the US$1 million top prize was Bishoj Pilavilthazha, who bought the winning ticket with nine friends. 

Today’s draw was conducted by McLoughlin alongside Salah Tahlak, Joint COO; Sinead El Sibai, SVP – Marketing; Dr. Bernard Creed, SVP – Finance; Mona Al Ali, SVP – Human Resources; Michael Schmidt, SVP – Retail; Sharon Beecham, SVP – Purchasing; Zayed Al Shebli, SVP – Loss Prevention and Corporate Security; and H.E. Major General Ali Atiq Bin Lahej, Director General – Department of Airports Security.

Dubai Duty Free at 40: Saying ‘thank you’ to customers

Following the Millennium Millionaire, five luxury vehicle winners were also unveiled at the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise draw.

This was followed by the DDF 40th Anniversary Shop & Win Gold, DDF 40th Anniversary Surprise, and DDF 40th Anniversary Staff Surprise draws.

Other celebrations in the run-up to the 40th anniversary included a skydive over the Dubai skyline. Champagne house Piper-Heidsieck marked the retailer’s milestone with a limited-edition release.

The special anniversary Millennium Millionaire draw at Dubai Duty Free

The special anniversary Millennium Millionaire draw.

“The anniversary celebrations are a good way of saying thank you to our customers, our employees and our partners,” said McLoughlin.

“I join our Chairman, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, in marking this special occasion and wish everyone a great end-of-year celebrations. 

“2023 has been a great year and this is a great ending for us.”

McLoughlin joined TRBusiness Editorial Director Luke Barras-Hill to discuss the retailer’s transformation from a small operation in 1983 to the US$2 billion powerhouse it is today.

The organisation is expecting to surpass its record revenue figure this year – an achievement that Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin said would rank 2023 as one of the travel retailer’s ‘greatest comebacks’ of all time.

DDF 40th anniversary tributes

A roster of high-profile people pay tribute to Dubai Duty Free on its 40th anniversary.

Last month, executives from DDF and beyond paid tribute to the retailer’s continued success.

Click the link above to view their words of congratulations and must-read anecdotes that will take you on a journey through the company’s four decades of dynamism.

Dubai Duty Free’s 40 years mapped

The features mentioned above formed part of the special Dubai Duty Free anniversary coverage in the TRBusiness November/December 2023 ezine, which features Colm McLoughlin as the cover star.

Our dedicated nine-page report also features a striking timeline showcasing a selection of the retailer’s key achievements through the years.

Please click here to view the timeline within the November/December 2023 issue.

Congratulations to all at Dubai Duty Free on a spectacular 40th anniversary celebration.

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