Martial lore at Hong Kong International Airport

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

Welcome to The Moodie Davitt Report Interim Hong Kong Bureau, Everest-high in Central, with a magnificent panoramic view over Victoria Harbour.

I’m here, hot on the heels of our exhilarating Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Conference & Awards to work on a major book project I’ve been fortunate enough to be entrusted with over recent and coming months. I love Hong Kong, its pulse, its rhythm, its colours, its smells, its cuisine and its sheer sense of drama. Look at the view behind me and you’ll see what I mean.

HK mmI also love Hong Kong International Airport, brilliantly defined by a former Commercial Director Hans Bakker as “a crossroads of humanity”. It’s certainly that, although every retailer in the airport, most notably anchor tenant DFS, wishes there were people (or at least more spenders) traversing those crossroads.

HK welcome

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I went through a temperature check at Hong Kong International Airport: unfortunately it’s the travel retailers who are feeling a distinct chill

Hong Kong is one of the world’s toughest retail environments at present and despite Airport Authority’s recent strong results (+10.3% revenue growth from retail licences and advertising to HK$7,523 million/US$967 million for the year ended 31 March 2016), the airport is no exception. Note the source of that income, licences; the P&Ls of the various retailers who have to pay those licence fees will tell a significantly different story.

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Lots of price activity and savings messages at the DFS liquor Arrivals store underlines the tough trading environment

But I digress. What certainly is working at Hong Kong International is its promotional activity. Whether its landside or airside there is always something here, often on a grand scale.

Take this Bruce Lee exhibition below that I spotted after coming through arrivals the other day. It was instructive to just stand back and watch how many people were taking photos and selfies of it and in front of it. The concept of Sense of Place should embrace far more than local products; it should also reach into art and architecture, cuisine, culture, design, history, religion, taste and tradition. And iconic individuals. In Hong Kong don’t come any more iconic than the man who famously invented Jeet Kune Do (the way of the intercepting fist). Bruce Lee. The stuff of legend. And of martial lore.

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