Sunrise turns 24 years young; we reach a sprightly 21; and FAB rocks in Bangkok

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

My Interim Shanghai Bureau on the 39th floor of The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong offers majestic views over the Huangpu river, the Bund and Oriental Pearl Tower.

I’m in Shanghai for a very special occasion indeed, Sunrise Duty Free’s 24th anniversary, a celebration of the success and resilience of one of the world’s great travel retailers.

Some 300 guests are arriving to toast that success at what promises to be an extraordinary gathering at CDF Sunrise Complex in Shanghai Pudong this afternoon and evening.

I have known Sunrise Duty Free Founder and General Manager Fengyi Zhang for most of those 24 years and am always struck by her kindness and grace when we meet in China or at TFWA’s Cannes and Singapore shows.

Madam Zhang has been an enduring supporter of me and The Moodie Davitt Report and I look forward to toasting her and the group’s success later. Watch this space.

I arrived in Shanghai last night both exhilarated and exhausted by our Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Conference & Awards in Bangkok, Thailand. What an amazing occasion this was as the photos below suggests.

FAB 2023 – back after a four-year, COVID-driven absence – felt like the reunification of a community, albeit one that has attracted some new residents (notably Dufry) since we last gathered in Texas in June 2019.

FAB is back where it belongs as an integral component of the travel retail calendar and we were very excited in Bangkok to reveal that next year’s event will be hosted by Ontario International Airport in southern California, a burgeoning gateway within the country that serves as the hotbed of airport food & beverage.

With Ontario International Airport Authority Airline Affairs and Properties Manager Annie Lin as we reveal the southern California gateway as the 2024 FAB host
Dermot Davitt and I kick proceedings off on day 1
Talking about the convergence of food & beverage and retail with Dufry CEO Xavier Rossinyol

So much for the exhilaration. As for the exhaustion, well let’s just say that running such an event with a small team is so very much hands-on that it is a wonder I have any hands left. We don’t have scriptwriters for presentations, speaker introductions or award scripts – Dermot Davitt and I are it. That’s all in addition to keeping the website that never sleeps awake and preparing our blockbuster Cannes/Trinity Forum magazine that goes to press early next week.

Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace ran to 587,287 words. I have a nasty feeling my recent and impending output may be challenging that number.

SSP organised surely the greatest FAB Opening cocktail ever

(Left) Qatar Duty Free Senior Vice President Thabet Musleh celebrates collecting six major FAB Awards; (Right) The amazing Moodie Davitt Report team celebrate a job well done
Industry veteran Dan Cappell and I let our hair down after the end of FAB 2023 (though truth be told our hair let us both down years ago)
Next stop Shanghai and a different kind of celebration of excellence
Sunrise Duty Free has been operating with distinction at Shanghai Pudong International Airport for 24 years
I was greeted off the plane by the wonderful Michelle Han of Sunrise Duty Free

The blend of tiredness and satisfaction meant that I at last slept the sleep of the angels last night after a stunning welcome meal courtesy of Sunrise Duty Free at the Michelin-star Jin Xuan Chinese restaurant here at the Ritz-Carlton. I’d arrived a day earlier than most guests so it was a solo meal of exquisite quality washed down with 2008 Dom Perignon.

Just the website that never sleeps and a glass (or two) of Dom Perignon 2008 to keep me company at the sublime Jin Xuan Chinese restaurant

The combination of that gourmet splendour, a good night’s rest and the magnificence of the view below have got me all supercharged and ready to go again. What’s more, I just realised that today has an added significance (the fact that I had forgotten it shows just how busy we have been) – it is The Moodie Davitt Report’s 21 birthday.

Issue 1 of The Moodie Report, 21 years ago to this day

On this day 21 years we published a simple 7-page pdf known simply as The Moodie Report. It feels like we have come a long way since, like the mighty Yangtze River, which finds such magnificent convergence in its last main tributary, the Huangpu or ‘Mother River of Shanghai’.

I will raise a glass tonight to Madam Zhang, Sunrise Duty Free and China Duty Free Group but you will forgive me if I also reach for a second to quietly celebrate our own landmark. ✈