All set to race in Abu Dhabi

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

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The Moodie Report, still reeling from the post-Cannes lurgy, is in Abu Dhabi for the first-ever Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

While, health permitting, we plan to take in the big race itself, the main reason for our visit is to look at the way Diageo Global Travel & Middle East (GTME), DFS and Abu Dhabi Airports Company are combining forces to maximise the retail benefits from the event. Once again it’s a case of the Trinity at work, with all three stakeholders combining their power, creativity and investment to deliver an offer that should significantly drive up footfall, penetration and total spend.

The inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has captured the imagination of the whole Middle East. The US$1 billion-plus Yas Marina circuit has been described as “mind blowing” by McLaren Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton, while F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone termed it “unbelievable”.

Similar superlatives have been forthcoming for the new Etihad Airways Terminal 3 at Abu Dhabi International Airport, which I flew into this morning. I know the stunning Departures area well but this was my first experience of Arrivals.

It’s an elegant terminal – albeit with a serioiusly long walk from gate to landside – and it has been nicely dressed for the F1 race.

A photo exhibition, entitled ‘The Walk of Fame’ (below), allows passengers to view historical moments of F1 races since 1950 through a series of giant images along the airport walkways.

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DFS recently opened a stunning new luxury liquor store in the Arrivals area (below) and Diageo has made its presence felt there with a great display for Johnnie Walker Black Label – a sponsor of the McLaren Mercedes team.

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Just look at the pictures below of the luxury liquor store – they tell their own story of simply great merchandising of premium liquor brands. Outstanding. 

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A few metres later one reaches the baggage reclaim area (below), home to the major DFS Arrivals store, positioned perfectly just yards away.

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Again, Johnnie Walker is at work, offering purchasers the chance to win a signed Lewis Hamilton helmet and there’s plenty of other F1 activity. 

These are exciting times in Abu Dhabi and at its increasingly impressive airport Tomorrow we’ll watch the race and on Monday we’ll report on a major launch at the airport. Watch this space.

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