The Moodie Davitt Report’s Cebu bureau is open for business and after the freezing temperatures of Beijing last week, I’m very glad it is.
Watching the sun come up from my hotel room balcony at the Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu is a sublime experience, the tranquility only broken by the loud music blared out over the loudspeakers as passengers queue up for the morning’s first ferry.
I’m in the Philippines for a series of interrelated feature stories. Today I will visit Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2, a wonderful new facility (pictured below) inaugurated in June last year. What a stunning first impression of a region and a country this terminal is.
Tomorrow I’m going to take my first look at Duty Free Philippines’ new LUXE store in Manila. And over the course of my trip I’m getting to know more about the fast-growing, fast-diversifying business of Landmark Management Services, led by Jose Maria ‘Chim’ N. Esteban III, the great pioneer of Philippines Duty Free (he was the state company’s first General Manager in 1987) and Regent Travel Retail, an impressive duty paid retail to food & beverage business in the hands of Chim’s son Joey.
There’s a lot of exciting things going on in travel retail here. Chinese tourism is booming and with it travel retail is on the up and up. But it’s not just about international tourism and duty free. Domestic travel, both by locals and foreigners, is also booming across this spectacularly diverse nation. And with that comes plenty of opportunities for Regent Travel Retail Group’s emergent portfolio.
If I can tear myself away from one of my best interim bureau settings ever, I’m in for a busy few days in a country that never ceases to compel.