‘21 in 21’ – Qatar Duty Free celebrates anniversary with major retail & dining investment at Hamad International Airport

QATAR. Qatar Duty Free (QDF) is marking its 21st anniversary this year in grand style by unveiling a major investment and an enhanced retail portfolio of 21 new shopping and food & beverage outlets.

The ‘21 in 21’ project embraces a range of tastes and budgets. It is designed to elevate the existing multiple award-winning duty free and dining experience at Hamad International Airport (HIA), transforming it into a premier global destination in its own right for international air travellers.

The new outlets, which will be located in both the departure and arrival areas, are being opened on a phased basis over the coming months.

The Moodie Davitt Report was on location today at Hamad International Airport to preview the ‘21 in 21’ development and to cover other forthcoming enhancements at the gateway to Doha and Qatar. Look out for our exclusive one-to-one interview with Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, H.E. Mr. Akbar Al Baker coming soon.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, H.E. Mr. Akbar Al Baker told The Moodie Davitt Report today: “At Qatar Airways and at Hamad International, we will never stop investing. Investment is what will give you the returns. If you just stay stagnant, people will get bored of you, people will not give you the kind of investment return that you are looking for.

“As the leader of a major airline in the world, I have to see beyond the end of my nose. I need to make sure that we are ready for the long term and not just the short term. And this is why we are making all these investments, not only investment in the duty free, but also investment in the building. To go to the second level, making sure constantly that as people copy us, we are two steps ahead of them.

Akbar Al Baker: “We will have something for everybody. We want people from every level of society to come and to feel that there is something for them.”

“And you will see already when you come here in a year’s time, the change in the terminal itself. Something that really raises the bar, which we are continuously doing in the airline too.

“We will have something for everybody. We don’t only want people who are affluent to come here. We want people from every level of society to come and to feel that there is something for them.”

The enhanced ‘21 in 21’ offer will include renowned global brands, several convenience and travel essential stores – including a ‘Big Value’ duty free shop offering products tailored to a budget-conscious consumer – and an enhanced dining offer.

We will bring you full details on this wide-ranging development in a special report in coming weeks.

A “stunning” new perfumes and cosmetics store is promised as part of the vibrant new look in the South Node. All renderings courtesy of Qatar Duty Free.

The improvements will make QDF the perfect place for all passengers to wind down with some shopping therapy and culinary delights between flights, the travel retailer said.

In a statement, Al Baker said: “We aim to offer an unrivalled retail and dining experience in a unique environment for all our passengers travelling through HIA – the best airport in the Middle East and the third-best in the world – and introduce our customers to an enhanced Qatar Duty Free shopping experience.”

HIA Chief Operating Officer Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer said: “The latest expansion of QDF’s retail portfolio is part of its joint effort with HIA to provide passengers with a diverse range of retail and culinary experiences.

“HIA’s expansive commercial space offers brands the opportunity to reach out to a truly global audience. We are always looking to diversify our offering to curate memorable retail experiences for all.”

Qatar Duty Free Vice President Operations Thabet Musleh said: “In celebration of 21 years of award-winning accomplishments and delivering a five-star service to customers, this major investment marks the start of a new chapter in QDF’s history and demonstrates our continuous commitment to providing a world-class duty free experience.”

Adding to an outstanding existing portfolio of brands, Viale di Lusso – as reported, a new upscale shopping avenue at HIA – will incorporate luxury labels such as Armani and Chloe with a strong  selection of ready-to-wear fashion items and accessories.

Coming soon: Viale di Lusso will feature a dazzling array of world and regional firsts in retail and dining

In addition, QDF will launch the first airport boutique in the Middle East for the  fashion designer Valentino and will debut stand-alone stores for prestigious brands such as Emilio Pucci, Fendi and Jimmy Choo – all firsts for Middle East airports.

In a global airport first, an Emporio Armani Ristorante and Caffè will add further glamour to the Viale di Lusso, offering what QDF dubbed an “exquisite culinary experience in a relaxed setting”.

A “stunning” new perfumes and cosmetics store will also include the first Christian Louboutin boutique, making QDF the world’s first travel retailer in the world to offer the luxury footwear to fragrances brand created by the famed French-Egyptian fashion designer.

The perfect fit: Famed footwear to fragrance brand Christian Louboutin is set to make its world airport debut

The world’s first Adidas airport store, Q-Denim – a multi-brand men’s denim store set to open tomorrow – and the Qatari fashion brand Kashka are other key openings.

The arrivals duty free will be boosted by a new look and feel and a larger shopping footprint, featuring a wider selection of products and an impressive selection of global brands for travellers arriving in Qatar.

As reported, Qatar Duty Free has also chosen to take its news, books and convenience offer (currently run by WHSmith) offer in-house. This will be run under the newly created Day2Day (see rendering below) brand and will include a limited fragrance offer from L’Oréal and others.

Qatar Duty Free Vice President Operations Thabet Musleh and Martin Moodie chat today in the acclaimed Harrods Tea Room at Hamad International Airport.  [Picture: Y Lee]

A diet of diversity and delight

QDF promised “something for all” in an enhanced food & beverage offer, including grab-and-go eateries for those on the move, plus a range of dine-in outlets and fine-dining concepts to satisfy those customers with more time to spare.

As reported, Qatar Airways signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) this April to create a joint venture with Autogrill subsidiary HMSHost International, the world’s largest travel-related food & beverage operator.

Among many awards over recent times, HIA and QDF were voted as ‘Best Airport Voted for by Millennials’ and ‘Best Airport Retail Environment’, respectively, at the Travel Retail Business Travel Retail Awards last October.

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