INTERNATIONAL. Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman & CEO Colm McLoughlin and China Duty Free Group President Charles Chen will join a powerful speakers’ line-up in the Knowledge Hub at the forthcoming Virtual Travel Retail Expo (11-15 October).

Both companies are also exhibiting at the event, organised by The Moodie Davitt Report, FILTR.QINGWA, and (from today) Hainan Provincial Bureau of International Economic Development (Hainan IEDB).

Charles Chen and Colm McLoughlin have been immense contributors to the development of the duty free industry over many years

McLoughlin and Chen are two of the key figures in the travel retail community. McLoughlin has led Dubai Duty Free, for many years the world’s most successful single-retailer airport duty free location, with great distinction since helping to set up the operation in 1983.

He is rightly acknowledged as the great modern-day statesman of the travel retail industry, a worthy successor to another Irishman, Dr Brendan O’Regan, who founded the duty free business in 1947. Both men started their travel retail careers at Shannon Airport in Ireland.

Dubai Duty Free: An outstanding success story that has grown from a start-up in 1983 to rank as the world’s most successful single-retailer airport duty free location for many years


Chen has driven a very different but equally remarkable success story. Having joined China Duty Free Group (CDFG) in 1987, he was appointed President in late 2016. Since then he has overseen the China Tourism Group subsidiary’s extraordinary rise to become the world’s number one travel retailer in 2020, according to The Moodie Davitt Report’s industry benchmark Top 25 Travel Retailers ranking.

CDFG is again heading for record sales this year. First-half revenues for parent company China Tourism Group rose +84% year-on-year to RMB35,501 million (US$5.5 billion), representing around 41% of projected year-end sales according to Goldman Sachs. Despite a proliferation of competitors in Hainan’s booming offshore duty free sector, CDFG still holds a market share of over 90%.

(Above) CDF Mall in the Sanya International Duty Free Shopping Complex became travel retail’s number one door in 2020 as Hainan’s offshore duty free sector thrived

The shape of things to come: CDFG will open the magnificent Haikou International Duty Free City in June 2022

Dubai Duty Free will be exhibiting in the new Retailer Emporium at this year’s Virtual Expo alongside many other leading industry retailers, including Ever Rich Duty Free, Tasa Meng, Qatar Duty Free, Duty Free Americas, Harding, Starboard Cruise Services and other sector heavyweights to be announced imminently.

The much-enhanced Virtual Travel Retail Expo will feature a Retailer Emporium and a Hainan Discovery zone among other attractions

CDFG will exhibit in the Hainan Discovery zone, a highlight of the new-look platform for the 2021 Virtual Travel Retail Expo. The zone will showcase all aspects of Hainan’s Free Trade Port programme, with a focus on Hainan duty free retailers, hotels, service companies, brand experiences and the island’s wider tourism and leisure offer.

The Hainan Discovery zone, whose Host is Hainan IEDB, will feature a new level of digital engagement and will offer sponsorship, advertising and promotional opportunities for exhibitors and non-exhibitors alike.

The Moodie Davitt Report Founder & Chairman Martin Moodie said: “We are privileged to be joined by Colm McLoughlin and Charles Chen at our second Virtual Travel Retail Expo. They have both contributed immensely not only to the growth of their companies and our industry but also to the image and professionalism of the sector. Each will address the future of travel retail based on a mix of deep experience and real vision as to where the sector needs to head.

“We’re also honoured that both Dubai Duty Free and China Duty Free Group have chosen to exhibit at the Expo – a real first for our industry to see them and other major travel retailers both exhibiting as well as attending as visitors to explore brand stands.”

For details on exhibiting or sponsoring the Virtual Travel Retail Expo please email Irene Revilla at