Homing in on Hong Kong

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

From Paris (via a brief stop-off in London) it’s to Hong Kong, location for The Moodie Davitt Report’s new Asia Pacific bureau.

As soon as I step off the plane here I am simply imbued with the energy of the place. I love its colours, its smells, its food, its pace and, not least, its views.

It’s also a great place to feel the pulse of the travel retail industry. All eyes right now are on Hong Kong International Airport (above), where next week a who’s who line-up of travel retailers will present their technical (not financial) offers to Airport Authority Hong Kong for the two core category tenders currently up for grabs (confectionery will be issued soon). The Authority can feel justifiably pleased with the field it has attracted (see below) and it seems certain that despite the difficult trading climate here and the well-documented huge losses racked up by incumbent DFS Group there will be plenty of money on the table when (strategic) push comes to (monetary) shove.

The two tenders will require complex assessment but I’d far rather be sitting in the shoes of an Airport Authority Hong Kong commercial executive right now than those of their counterparts at Incheon International Airport, where a frankly bizarre two-stage tender will now take place.

To realise the absurdity of the procedure in which first Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) judges the bids (identifying the first two candidates for each package) and then Korea Customs Service overlays its own assessment, consider what would happen if such a system were applied throughout the world. For example, Heathrow Airport goes to tender, picks its two front-runners, then a government agency such as, say, the Office of Fair Trading steps in to do the final judging. Impossible, right? Not in Korea.


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