Closing down the Interim French Riviera Bureau after an unexpected accolade

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

Reaching new Frontiers: I’ve attended numerous Frontier Awards dinners down the years, and even presented an Award one year, but I never expected to receive one. Thus I am very grateful to the Frontier team, and of course the panel of independent judges, for deeming me worthy of this year’s Outstanding Contribution to the Industry award.

I’m not sure I am a worthy winner – I have always seen my job as documenting the achievements of others – but I accepted the accolade with both pleasure and pride on the night. It was particularly rewarding for me to receive my award on the same night that the great Colm McLoughlin, a long-time inspiration and mentor, and his wonderful team at Dubai Duty Free, received the Airport Retailer of the Year Award. Peer company doesn’t get much better than that.

My Award was a nice recognition, too, of the efforts of the fine men and women, past and present, on The Moodie Davitt Report team over the past 15 years. A few of us raised a toast or two after the event on Wednesday night, one of those all too rare moments when we pause for breath and tell each other “Well done”.

I have never forgotten the kindness of the Frontier team back in 2002, the year I launched what was then The Moodie Report, when they invited me (then a lonely force of just one individual) to their table for the Awards. For them to accept and even encourage the selection of a successful rival Publisher for such an award a decade and a half later speaks very well of them. And the event’s sold-out attendance (an astounding 650 guests) speaks volumes for the Frontier Awards themselves.

The Frontier Award will take pride of place at Moodie Davitt HQ from Monday. I particularly like the fact that it includes a glass globe, which I can turn to show my home country of New Zealand as well as the myriad of places I have visited during this amazing 30-year sojourn in travel retail. What a journey. And this Award motivates me to continue it for a long time yet.

[Note: For a full list of the rather more deserving Frontier Award winners, click here.]

The Moodie Davitt Report Interim French Riviera Bureau is now closed for another year. What a great few days it has been for me and my team. Here are some of my favourite images of the week.

(Above and below) Room with a view: Each year, Dermot Davitt, Matt Willey and I take up residence at 4 Boulevard de la Croisette in Cannes overlooking the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès. It’s a superb venue that allows us to keep the website that never sleeps well and truly awake all week.

Having a quiet drink with two of my favourite people, Colm and Breeda McLoughlin of Dubai Duty Free
With another great industry friend, Travel Markets Insider Owner and Editor Lois Pasternak. Lois does a great job covering Americas travel retail and I’m always delighted to catch up with her.
L’Oréal Travel Retail’s annual press conference once again proved the media highlight of the Cannes show. Each year this event provides a brilliantly snappy, insightful and visionary insight into our industry’s fortunes and future. Here Managing Director Vincent Boinay talks journalists through some of the group’s priorities.

L’Oréal Travel Retail’s annual dinner is another stand-out for me. Each table is themed to a different travel retail centre (I was on the Miami table this year) with the VIP table appropriately dubbed The Sixth Continent.
And my favourite lunch of the week? No question about this one. It is my annual get-together with Pier Giuseppe Torresani and Roberta Ruffo of Italian wine producer Masi Agricola, synonymous with great Amarone and an outstanding range of other table and sparking wines, including their recently acquired Canevel (a Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, and truly a cut above most of the commercial Prosecco guzzled down in increasing quantities around the world). Great wine, great food, great company. The view from their apartment isn’t bad either.

Rumtastic: So now I know why Wild Tiger Rum Founder Gautom Menon was trying to track me down on the final day of Cannes. The human tornado behind the fast-growing Indian rum brand presented this special presentation to The Moodie Davitt Report’s new Managing Editor Kapila Gohel to mark our 15th anniversary. It took us a decade and a half, but I think you can say we truly earned our (and Gautom’s) stripes.
Before all the work, there was time for play. The Friday before Cannes is Pink Tee time at the Royal Mougin Golf Course, courtesy of Mark and Britt Riches. With him were his partners in golfing attire, Harry and Lui Ming Diehl, Colm and Breeda McLoughlin and yours truly in a pink outfit that I can 100% assure you I didn’t wear during the show.
With typical generosity, Harry Diehl presented me with 500 Euros (his golfing ‘losings’) to donate to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
(Above and below) The annual Moodie International Superstars Honorary Invitation Trophy (bearing the highly appropriate acronym, the MIS-HIT) is our traditional ‘Cannes opener’, a way of thanking our supporters for their loyalty down the years. No-one’s reputation is safe when the prize-giving begins…
Or when the golf begins… 2017 newbies Neil Ebbutt of Rituals and London teaching professional Giulio Merolla get the MIS-HIT underway with the traditional opening drives. Their golf balls were not quite what they expected however…. [Guilo’s drive with an exploding ball travelled further than the real drive of his hapless student, yours truly…]
On, rather than in, the water for once, here I am with Giulio Merolla, Antares Cheng and Michael Payne
They tend to shout “timber” when IAADFS’s Michael Payne is golfing and we discovered why
On a similar theme, the MIS-HIT’s official ‘A Man called Tree’, Bacardi Global Travel Retail Supremo Mike Birch, is named after one. And appropriately he managed to spend most of his round in them.
Dermot and I pay tribute to the wonderful Jean-Stefan Camerini, owner of Cannes Mandelieu Golf Club. Jean-Stefan and his team go out of their way to make us welcome for the MIS-HIT and the course is simply one you must play if in the south of France.
The new must-have Paul & Shark accessory? Now that’s what I call a closest to the pin award for the irrepressible Catherine Bonelli.
Did Al Nassma’s Patrick Dorais (rumoured to have a golf handicap of 547) really win one of the major prizes? Certainly he appears desperately keen to have his photo taken. Art Miller (left and a low-handicap golfer) looks as though he can’t quite take it all in, while renowned Indian tee-planter Sunil Tuli (who shot the lights out though you win nothing for hitting lights) and another surprise package (John Kilmartin of Patron Spirits) celebrate their winnings.
Pretty in pink? Well not quite, but courtesy of my resplendent golf trousers I receive the Fashionista Award from Catherine Bonelli.
Where there’s yang, there must be ying. Where there is a Fashionista, there must be an anti-Fashionista. Where’s their sartorial splendour, there must be Garry Maxwell. By the time he’d donned his winning apron (below), things were looking even worse…
Raising the tone once more though was Ladies Fashionista winner, Takako Asaki from Blanc des Blancs in Japan

And the 2017 MIS-HIT winners are…. Martyn Westbury, Harry Diehl, Kevin Walsh and Lui Ming Diehl, pictured here with me and Dermot Davitt.
Straight and true: The inimitable Harry Diehl dons the coveted Blue Jacket for being named Player of the Day in the MIS-HIT 2017. Presenting him with the trophy is last year’s winner Kevin Walsh of Premier Portfolio.


A Kiwi takes flight: Meet Rogue Society Distilling Co’s co-Founder Daniel McLaughlin (centre) and Regional Sales Director James Cowan (right), whom I caught up with at The Moodie Davitt Report Interim Bureau in Cannes this afternoon. Their small-batch premium New Zealand gin brand, Scapegrace, has enjoyed impressive success since its launch in February 2014 and is now making rapid inroads into travel retail.

Daniel and James are here to talk to retailers worldwide about the next stage of the growth for a brand that will be in 40 markets by year-end. That’s some growth story, reflecting the quality of the juice and the presentation; the vision and determination of the team; and the vibrancy of the gin category in many markets. And the fact that the owners are Kiwis, of course…

Make no mistake about it, here’s a brand that’s going places fast.

He’s a man of great vision, Vision 2020 to be precise. Meet Masahiko Uotani, President and Chief Executive Officer at Japanese beauty giant Shiseido. I caught up with Uotani san yesterday, a year after we first met at the 2016 show. He’s an outstandingly bright and insightful executive, who is driving a profound modernisation of the company while respecting its traditional values. With him was Philipe Lesne, President Shiseido Travel Retail, who is doing a top-class job in driving the company’s fortunes in what Uotani san has earmarked as a key channel. You can read my fascinating interview in coming weeks.

With ‎Pier Giuseppe Torresani, Managing Director Sales and Roberta Ruffo of ‎Masi Agricola. That’s what I call a room with a view. And superb wines to match.

It’s showtime folks as TFWA World Exhibition gets down to business. As usual it feels as if the whole travel retail community worldwide has descended on the French Riviera. After the morning’s conference, it was down to business this afternoon. Well, I’m not sure I can call my traditional Monday lunch with my good friends at Masi business, such is the quality of the company, the food and, of course, the wine.  Wine deserves a higher profile in travel retail and Masi is one of the companies at the forefront of ensuring it gets exactly that.

SATURDAY – The real Diehl strikes gold as travel retailer’s MIS-HITTERs descend on Cannes

The annual TFWA World Exhibition kicked off in style on Saturday for The Moodie Davitt Report as a bunch of industry friends joined us for the annual Moodie International Superstars Honorary Invitation Trophy (the MIS-HIT). Make that teed of. For this of course is argubly golf’s fifth major, a gruelling test of the golf skills, or lack of, of some of travel retail’s finest.

This year we changed to a Texas Scramble format to hasten play, the team format meaning that the annual Blue Jacket, one of the most revered sporting uniforms in the annals of golf, had to be awarded on grounds other than best individual score. It went to industry legend, the wonderful Harry Diehl of Gebr Heinemann, not only for sinking several crucial putts for the winning team but for always being “straight and true” in life and business. As you can see, it suits him. To a tee.

The real Diehl: The legendary Harry Diehl dons the famed blue jacket
The MIS-HIT winning team 2017 with Dermot Davitt (left) and Martin Moodie (like his drives, extreme right): Martyn Westbury, Harry Diehl, Kevin Walsh, Lui Ming Diehl
Fashion to the fore: Takako Asaki, owner of Japanese travel retailer Blanc de Blancs, wins the Ladies’ Fashionista award for her chic combination of elegance and zaniness
A special Fashionista award goes to a spectator (though he promises to play next year), the impeccably stylish Filip Soete, Chief Commercial Officer of Nice Côte d’Azur Airport
Where there’s ying, there’s yang; and where there’s fashionistas there are anti-fashionistas: Premier Portfolio’s Garry Maxwell sweeps the board with this terrifying technicolour explosion
Paul & Shark’s Catherine Bonelli looks de rigueur in this season’s must-have golfing accessory for being closest to the pin
James Kfouri, Director of Sales, Australia, NZ, SE Asia and Global Travel Retail at Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds, will have fashionistas all over the world going nuts over his new look, his reward for being closest to the pin
Green movement: Peuch & Besse’s Sylvain Combe with the Autumn/Winter French beret everyone wants to wear this summer
Given that he’s named after a tree, it’s little wonder that Bacardi’s Global Travel Retail supremo Mike Birch spent so much time in them yesterday. When others reach for their woods, Mike simply reaches for the trees…
Close but no cigar: The team of Art (the rat) Miller, Sunil Tuli, Jon Kilmartin and, yes it’s true, Patrick Dorais, only just trailed in behind our winners

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