A grim backdrop for a booming business

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

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One of the miracles of the Middle East duty free channel’s success in the past decade has been the way it has flourished in the face of non-stop political volatility.

As delegates gather in Dubai today for the annual Middle East Duty Free Association (MEDFA) Conference, they will be reminded of that backdrop by the local newspaper headlines. The pages are unremittingly grim, leading of course with the tragic assassination of Lebanese Christian Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel yesterday.

‘World denounces Lebanon killing’ screams the headline in The Gulf Today. And the reading doesn’t get any easier as one turns the pages. ‘Top Hamas leader killed in Gaza raid’; ‘Amman says US trapped in Iraq’; ‘Egyptian police find explosives’; ‘Israel ready to fight Iran to the last soldier’.

And so it goes. This region is teetering on the brink and nowhere, tragically, are there headlines proclaiming bold peace initiatives. For now it is the Masters of War, as Bob Dylan once called them, who are calling the shots, metaphorical and literal in this region.

The world must seize every possible balance to that dynamic. And commerce – led by the flourishing, innovative, wealth- and job-creating aviation to travel retail sector – is one of them. The industry’s role, led by the likes of Dubai Duty Free (pictured), has never been more important.

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  • This is a diverse and complex region with each country deserving a special perspective & outlook from business owners. The backdrop of a few events cannot be extended on to a wider canvass as a broad background or scenario in this region. And a few countries have shown exactly that with their economic growth propelled by the right fundamentals. So in my opinion I would urge everyone to look at each individual market in this region with a customised individual focus and not a regional paintbrush.

  • Politics always plays a very important role in ecnomics. The responsibility and task for Dubai travel retail industry is arduous, but with all the people and efforts, we are sure everything will be fine and better!