Lost in translation down under

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


I’ve arrived in Melbourne, capital of the Australian state of Victoria, and a beautiful and cosmopolitan city.

I’m here to meet the board of Australian Pacific Airports Corporation (APAC), which owns Melbourne and Launceston airports, and to give a presentation about the trends and future of global travel retail.

melbourne arrivals

melbourne arrivals 2

I’m no stranger to long haul but I must confess I had forgotten just what it takes in terms of hours and wear and tear on the body clock to get here.

I’m writing this at 5a.m. after finally grabbing some edgy sleep around 1a.m after a full-on working day that followed straight from a sleepless nine-hour flight from Hong Kong. It’s what I call that ‘Lost in Translation’ feeling, waking up in a hotel room a long way from home, feeling disorientated, edgy and slightly surreal. Regular travellers in this industry, of whom there are many, know the feeling all too well. It always eases the next day.

After my presentation I’m back out of here, en route to London via Hong Kong, hopefully sleeping the whole way. A big glass of good Aussie Shiraz, banned on the way in due to my need to work on today’s presentation, beckons in lieu of knock-out pills.

But I’m not grizzling. Such trips give me the priceless opportunity to view first hand how airports approach commercial revenues and to  get an insight into the thinking of executive and non-executive management. It’s usually a real eye-opener and this occasion is already proving just that.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the airport with Gilly Gray, General Manager Retail and Car Parks at Melbourne Airport, who is leaving in coming months after 15 years with the company. Gilly and her team have done an impressive job here in the commercial transformation of Terminal 2.

Gilly and Rob

[Gilly Gray with Rob Godino, Senior Store Manager for F1rst Tax and Duty Free, run by The Nuance Group, inside the superb World of Wine area]


That includes a big walk-through store from The Nuance Group, which includes one of the best wine areas I have seen; a top-class specialist watches boutique from JR; a good mix of Australian destination merchandise; and a stunning new area with 10m high ceilings that includes a fine food & beverage offer almost within touching distance of the planes outside. I’ll bring you more in a subsequent Blog after I fly out tonight.



After my tour I got the chance to enjoy a pleasant lunch with JR Duty Free Chairman Evelyn Danos and CEO Milton Lasnitzki in Melbourne’s sprawling Chinatown zone. In an industry increasingly dominated by the giants, JR remains a thriving family enterprise that maintains the entrepreneurial spirit of the late Founder, David Mandie, one of the great pioneers of our industry. Their fine watches outlet at Melbourne Airport is an outstanding example of their emphasis on quality.

JR watch

As dawn breaks, Melbourne is beginning to come to life. I hope the same might happen to me. Time for the first of what may need to be many coffees this day. From Lost in Translation it’s time to make my words make sense.

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