December 1 2022  |  Associations

Industry success honored at MEADFA Gala dinner

By Jane Hobson, in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain

Bassam Al Wardi, Chief Executive Officer & Board Director, Bahrain Duty Free (left), with Aijaz Khan, Publisher, Global Travel Retail Magazine at the MEADFA Conference Gala dinner on November 28, 2022

The Middle East & Africa Duty Free Association (MEADFA) celebrated the successes of the DF and TR industry in the region at last night’s MEADFA Conference Gala dinner with food, dance and the inaugural Awards ceremony.

Delegates of the MEADFA Conference were cordially invited to the dinner at The Art Hotel & Resort terrace hosted by Bahrain Duty Free, with drinks sponsored by Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail. Attendees had the opportunity to take photos with falcons, receive henna, drink tea and, of course, network.

Left to right: Salah Tahlak, Joint Chief Operating Officer at of Dubai Duty Free (DDF) with Aijaz Khan, Publisher, Global Travel Retail Magazine and Ramesh Cidambi is the Chief Operating Officer DDF, at the MEADFA Conference Gala dinner on November 28, 2022

The evening began just after sunset with a celebratory dance with singing and drumming.

Then, Aer Rianta International Middle East’s Richard Gray took to the stage to kick-off the first-ever MEADFA Awards ceremony. The MEADFA Awards recognize innovative, dynamic world-class travel retail specialists in the Middle East and Africa region, the Association said.

The winners include:

  • Best Retailer Award: Bahrain Duty Free
  • Best in Marketing Strategy: Nestle International Travel Retail
  • Sustainability & CSR Award (two prizes according to the size of the company): Dubai Duty Free and Bitmore Ltd.
  • Customers & Suppliers Award (two prizes according to the size of the company): Muscat Duty Free and Merlin, Soft Magic Systems Computers LLC

And, the industry honored Colm McLoughlin, CEO and Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free (DDF), with the Lifetime Achievement Award. McLoughlin, who was unfortunately unable to attend the event in Bahrain, received a standing ovation as Ramesh Cidambi, DDF COO, accepted the award on his behalf.

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors an exceptional leader who has made a remarkable contribution to duty free and travel retail, promoted strong leadership and has considerably impacted the overall strategy, culture, and development of the industry. McLoughlin has worked in duty free for more than 50 years.

Global Travel Retail Magazine’s coverage of the Gala dinner below:

Aer Rianta International Middle East’s Richard Gray announced winners of the first-ever MEADFA Awards ceremony

The crowd honored Colm McLoughlin who was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award

Delegates gathered on the terrace for the MEADFA Conference Gala dinner



The Diageo team

Attendees at the event were invited to get up close to a falcon for a photo opportunity

Tea was served

Jane Hobson, Managing Editor at Global Travel Retail Magazine with a falcon

Henna was available at the Gala dinner

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