Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
- Around the world in 80 (or so) days - May 15, 2022
- Cannes on steroids and gobsmacked in an airport wonderland - May 11, 2022
- A sneak preview of a new wonder of the world - May 10, 2022
The travel retail industry is fortunate enough to be able to count on a number of great internationalists that have acted as true industry statesmen down the years.
Sadly, we have just lost one – Dr Brendan O’Regan, the creator of the world’s first airport shop, back in Shannon, Ireland in 1947.
But others carry on the flame. Men like Dubai Duty Free Director Colm McLoughlin, 40 years in the business in 2009; Joe Lyons, a true gentleman, at DFS Group; David Bernstein, the industry veteran and Duty Free International founder, still involved in the business at IAADFS level; and Mahendra Patel, the Chairman and CEO of the Motibhai Group of Companies in Fiji.
Mahendra has performed outstanding service for his country and for the Fijian tourism and travel retail sectors. He has chaired numerous government bodies and given enormously to industry and commerce in Fiji. In 1984 he was awarded the CBE for those services and in 1990 he received the coveted French Award of Officer de l’Ordre National Du Merite. He has given much to charity and for a time chaired the National Diabetes Foundation.
He has been involved in the duty free industry for 37 years and during that time has helped transform Fiji’s airport retailing offer into a modern and highly professional one befitting such a beautiful tourist destination.
He is also one of nature’s great gentlemen, courteous and kind. During my many years running DFNI, Mahendra helped me and my team on many, many occasions. He has continued to always offer words of encouragement since I created The Moodie Report.
He and his lovely wife Pratima are regular and highly recognisable faces at the industry’s trade shows and not many conferences go by without insightful intervention from the floor from Mahendra. He is one of a kind and, make no mistake, we as a business are lucky to have him.