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Sometimes acts of generosity occur in this industry that take your breath away.
At Duty-Free News International’s excellent charity ball last Friday one such moment happened.
The ball was dedicated to travel retail industry project Hand in Hand for Haiti. Funds raised will be used to build an on-site clinic at the Lycée Jean-Baptiste Point du Sable school which is due to open in Saint Marc, Haiti, this September.
The organisers hoped to raise a heady US$100,000 on the evening. They did much, much more than that, in large part to a remarkable donation from King Power International Group Chairman Vichai Raksriaksorn (pictured above with me at The Moodie Report’s table) who pledged US$100,000 on the evening.
When Olivier Bottrie (below), Estée Lauder Companies Travel Retailing Worldwide President and one of the driving forces behind Hand in Hand for Haiti, announced Vichai’s gesture during a perfectly pitched and poignant speech, the audience burst into spontaneous and prolonged applause.
Reluctantly, Vichai (a gracious and shy man who prefers to avoid the public limelight) came to the stage to join Olivier and me. The reception he got said everything about the respect in which he is held.
FOOTNOTE: Last month Vichai was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution to the Travel Retail Industry Award by The Moodie Report, presented at the Trinity Forum gala dinner in Bangkok. It’s only the second time the award has been made, the first recipient being Dubai Duty Free Managing Director Colm McLoughlin (pictured below right with Vichai).
[Vichai receives the recognition from The Moodie Report Deputy Publisher Dermot Davitt]