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The Moodie Report is in Beijing, China, where in less than two weeks the long-awaited Olympic Games begins. There’s an extraordinary mood of anticipation here in the Chinese capital that hits you from the moment you alight from your plane into the fantastic, almost surreal experience that is Beijing International Airport Terminal 3.
There are staff all over the vast terminal, resplendent in their bright Beijing Olympic polo shirts, and a Beijing Olympic lane for inbound arrivals. There are even Arrivals duty free shops – run by Sunrise Duty Free. That’s a surprise given that Arrivals shopping in China was historically confined to border crossings in special economic zones. But as the photos below show, they’re now here at the airport. And they were doing very solid business as I arrived.
Colourful ‘Beijing 2008’ signage adorns the airports and the expressways leading to the city and to the Olympic village.
Beijing has poured extraordinary resources and commitment into this event, which takes most dramatic shape in the new Olympics stadium. Capable of holding 91,000 spectators, it has been dubbed ‘The Birds’ Nest’, a reference to its extraordinary design – a hi-tech, ultra-modern integration of engineering and art.
Today I took a visit to the site with China Duty Free Group Marketing Department Director Antonio Hao (pictured below). The facility is currently fenced off but in a few days time the eyes of the world will be on this extraordinary facility and the dramatic events that will take place within it.
Antonio and his colleagues at China Duty Free Group, have been hoping for an Olympics bonanza in terms of retail spend, though tight security and visa restrictions may augur a lower than anticipated commercial return from the event.
The ‘Birds’ Nest’ is not the only amazing new building in the city. We also stopped off at the beautiful new National Centre for the Performing Arts (pictured below), located close to Tiananmen Square and The Great Hall of the People. This world-class facility, which resembles a giant egg, is surrounded by water – visitors enter via an underground walkway. It’s spectacularly beautiful.
We’ll analyse the retail impact of the Olympic Games in a special issue of the The Moodie Report Digital Print Edition, due out in September. It is dedicated to the exciting travel retail markets of Turkey, Russia, India and China. I’m on the road through both China and India, having recently returned from covering the opening of the spectacular new RegStaer store at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport in Russia. My colleague Dermot Davitt was in Turkey last week and will be heading to Russia for more coverage in a few weeks.
Our ‘TRIC’ markets report promises to make fascinating reading – but not half as fascinating as the great sporting event that is about to unfold in Beijing. Let the Games begin.