Oh, what a beautiful mornin’
Oh, what a beautiful day.
I’ve got a beautiful feelin’
Everything’s goin’ my way.
– Rodgers & Hammerstein
I’m back in a near-freezing London after a full-on week in the Middle East, starting with the annual MEADFA Conference in Jordan, followed by the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup. The former was a good event as always, attracting 342 delegates – not bad given some widely held concerns about the choice of Jordan as a venue in a troubled year.
Why the opening reference to the famous Rodgers & Hammerstein song from the musical Oklahoma? Because that’s the unique way in which the Mayor of Amman (and a former Jordanian Minister of Tourism) H.E. Akel Biltaji opened his address on day one of the MEADFA Conference. In trying to instil some necessary perspective (and optimism) regarding a troubled region and troubled world, he burst into song and then got the whole audience to do exactly the same. Nice touch.
His was a rarely warm, thoughtful, intelligent speech, combining philosophical and cultural insights with an acute knowledge of global trends. If only such balanced, measured thinking was more widespread we would indeed have many more beautiful mornings in a region too often tainted by hatred and ignorance.
To Dubai and the two-day Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup. I won’t trouble you with details of my golfing performance just as I never troubled the scorers. One day was enough in fact for me to confirm exactly why my odds of winning were roughly the same as Donald Trump’s chances of winning the Nobel Peace Prize. On day two I chose to return to what I do rather better, reporting. To lean on the old Mark Twain adage, just as good a walk but this time not ruined.
[The Moodie Report’s Dermot Davitt with Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman Colm McLoughlin. The Moodie Report sponsored the golf buggies on day 1 with a ‘Straight & True’ tagline]
[And there are none straighter nor more true than Gebr Heinemann’s legendary Harry Diehl]
Once again the Dubai Duty Free organisation and hospitality were simply to be marvelled at. Staff such as Christine Feliciano and Anna Khan (below) and the others below (led by the irrepressible Magdy Al Sheikh, on the right) epitomise the DDF spirit – always smiling, always gracious. Nothing is too much trouble. Thank you to all at Dubai Duty Free for your incredible warmth, efficiency and grace over the past few days.
[From left: Martin Moodie; Colm McLoughlin, Dubai Duty Free; Des Smyth, top Irish golf professional; George Horan, Dubai Duty Free; and Harry Diehl of Gebr Heinemann on day 1 of the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup]
[The only birdies I got close to at the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup]
[And the winner is… local businessman Beyer Khan]
Now it’s back to HQ, just a couple of business trips to close out the year remain. An interesting, often testing, ultimately successful year for The Moodie Report. A troubled one for the industry. And a tragic one for the world. I wonder what Rodgers and Hammerstein would have made of it. For there were not too many beautiful mornings in 2015.
[Dear or alive? A public float for The Moodie Report? At the MEADFA conference in Jordan, Scorpio Worldwide’s Richard Kennedy reads The Moodie Report on the Dead Sea while being filmed for Moodie Live, while Al Nassma’s Patrick Dorais looks on]
[Colourful couture or sartorial sabotage? (Above and below:) Some of the industry’s best-known characters at the Pinkie Pairs which followed the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup]
[Picasso couldn’t have painted two harlequins any more perfectly: David Spillane and Andrew Webster spotted on the fairway for once]
[Technicolour trio: David Spillane, Sunil Tuli, whose shorts appear to have burst into flame, and tournament winner Rodger Craig]
[A quintessential quintet hits the high notes: Left to right: Jaclyn McGuire, Jessica Howells, Vicki Smyth, Catherine Bonelli and Denise Kennedy]