With temperatures in London a distinctly unspring-like 1 degree above zero, I am delighted to be bringing you this Blog from The Moodie Davitt Report Interim Orlando Bureau, where it’s going to hit 30 degrees today. It’s great being back here (for the final year, in fact) at the Marriott Orlando World Trade Center, home to the inaugural Duty Free & Travel Retail Summit of the Americas.
The fusion of IAADFS’s Duty Free Show of the Americas with the ASUTIL conference was a smart move and there’s a far better buzz around this event than there has been for recent Orlando shows.
I arrived Thursday night and after a nice round of golf with IAADFS’s Michael Payne, Dubai Duty Free boss Colm McLoughlin and Gebr. Heinemann’s irrepressible Harry Diehl (needless to say Colm and Harry took the money), I attended the traditional Friday night dinner hosted by long-time IAADFS President (and Duty Free International Co-Founder) David Bernstein.
It was wonderful to catch up with David’s former Duty Free International partners, John Couri, Carl Reimerdes and Al Carfora, all still going strong. I was very happy, too, to see Loraine Motta, widow of Pancho, lost so cruelly and prematurely just after this show two years ago.
I shall treasure the photo below of Friday’s dinner. It was a privilege to be among so many outstanding servants to our industry.
Yesterday was, of course, St Patrick’s Day. And as fate would have it, it was the day of the rugby showdown between Ireland and England at Twickenham. If Ireland won it would mean a rare Six Nations ‘Grand Slam’ (winning every match).
Finding the match on US TV proved quite a challenge, but with a proud Irishman and woman Colm and Breeda McLoughlin as company, missing it was not an option. Cue an online cable channel purchase and US$59.99 later I had the match on the Moodie laptop, allowing the McLoughlins (suitably attired) and me to watch the game from the comfort of The Moodie Davitt Report Interim Orlando Bureau.
As you might know by now (the cheers from Dublin to Donegal are still ringing out around the world), the boys in green triumphed and the mother of all parties began. As I write, the weather outside has turned as foggy as an old fashioned London pea souper (see below). Could that be my business partner Dermot Davitt’s no doubt historic post-match hangover in Galway drifting across the Atlantic?
Though Ireland are my second team (my first, of course, shares the same colour with a pint of Guinness), I’m delighted to be feeling very unfoggy indeed after a good night’s sleep to eradicate any remaining jet lag. It’s going to be a great week. I look forward to seeing many old friends around this rejuvenated show and to making many new ones. Being the ceaseless globetrotter I am (based on today’s weather I feel like Phileas Fog), there is nothing I like more than opening a Moodie Davitt Report Interim Bureau. I declare the Orlando Bureau open for business.