From humble beginnings, Dubai Duty Free has grown into one of the biggest travel retail operator in the world.
Founded in 1983, Dubai Duty Free recorded first-year sales of US$20 million and has grown into one of the biggest travel retail operator in the world with sales turnover of US$1.85 billion in 2016.
Now employing almost 6,000 people, the operation has consistently raised the benchmark for airport retailing and it continues to grow. Dubai Duty Free currently operates over 35,400 sqm of retail space at Dubai International Airport and 2,500 sqm at Al Maktoum International that will grow in line with the massive development plans of Dubai South, which ultimately cover some 80,000 sqm of retail. 
In addition to its retail operation, Dubai Duty Free operates a Leisure Division which includes The Irish Village, Century Village, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium and The Jumeirah Creekside Hotel.  Meanwhile, The Irish Village, which was named as the world's Best Irish Pub in 2016 (outside Dubai), opened its second home at Riverland located in the new Dubai Parks and Resorts.
While the successful running of the shopfloor is a major focus for Dubai Duty Free, the operation is highly committed to promoting Dubai through a series of high level sporting events including the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
To date, Dubai Duty Free has received over 550 awards including the "Brand of the Year" from the World Branding Awards in London, the "Retail Company of the Year" from Gulf Business Magazine, The Burj CEO "Best Global Services" (US) award, and the prestigious Global Traveler US Awards Hall of Fame for winning the "Best Duty Free Shops" for the 10th consecutive year held in Los Angeles, USA.
Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Colm McLoughlin, was also presented with  several awards including the CEO Middle East Awards for “Retail CEO of the Year”, “Business Leader of the Year – Retail” from Gulf Business Industry Awards, and the “Irish Presidential Distinguished Service Award” presented by the Irish President Michael D. Higgins. More recently, he was also presented with the "Best Business Leader in Retail" for the second consecutive year by MENAA Awards. 
Dubai Duty Free 33rd Anniversary
Dubai Duty Free marked its 33rd anniversary with a special 25% discount on a wide range of merchandise over three days which began at midnight on 18th December and continued until midnight on the operation’s anniversary day on 20th December. Total sales for the three days topped US$44.33 million. 
The anniversary discount for 72 hours resulted in a spending spree at Dubai International and at Al Maktoum International with sales figures on 18th December reaching US$9.67 million and US$9.01 million on 19th December. On the anniversary day itself, 20th December, Dubai Duty Free daily sales reached US$25.6 million in the 24-hour period.   
With the opening of Concourse D and the retail area between Concourse C and B, Dubai Duty Free now operates over 35,400 square metre of retail space at Dubai International Airport (DIA).
Meanwhile, at Al Maktoum International, the operation of 2,500 square metres will grow in line with the massive development plans of Dubai South, which ultimately cover some 80,000 square metres of retail.
Dubai Duty Free’s first major push into online retailing going well, a dedicated Web Shop has been centrally positioned for customers picking up items they reserved on the DDF online service.
The e-Commerce website is available in Mandarin for the first time, thereby providing Chinese travelers with an insight into a range of Dubai Duty Free products available online.
Whether it is on the golfing green, the tennis courts, the racecourse or even the high seas, sponsorship and the support of international events has been an integral part of Dubai Duty Free’s marketing strategy since 1983. And more than just marketing the company itself, these sporting endeavours have also helped to propel global perception of the emirate.
The sporting ‘season’ in Dubai began in January/February with the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. As a patron sponsor, Dubai Duty Free will entertain guests in style at the Emirates Golf Club throughout the tournament period and will conduct a draw to win a Mercedes Benz S500 in Dubai Duty Free’s Finest Surprise Promotion on the last day.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free, will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the tournament carries a prize pot of $5.2 million. The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships will take place from 19th February - 4th March that will see the world's WTA/ATP players battling it out during the tennis fortnight.
International horse racing has provided an excellent medium for Dubai Duty Free to capture the global media attention and the Dubai Duty Free Stakes in the UK in April, the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup (Ascot) in August, the Dubai Duty Free International Raceday in September are part of the operation’s racing sponsorship in the UK. The operation is also the title sponsor of one of the biggest races in Europe, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, which is held at the Curragh Racecourse in Ireland to be held from 29th June - 1st July.
The operation will also return to Northern Ireland for the 3rd Dubai Duty Free Irish Open to be held at Poststewart Golf Club from 6th - 9th July. The tournament, which is hosted by the Rory Foundation, has become part of the Rolex Series and will now offer prize money of US$7 million.
Other sports to benefit from Dubai Duty Free’s support include the Emirates Airlines Dubai Rugby 7’s, Dubai Irish Golf Sociery and Dubai International Arabian Races among others.
By supporting so many events at the highest level and all around the globe, Dubai Duty Free is effectively promoting Dubai’s sporting, leisure and business facilities, which are second to none. And with more and more world-class sportspeople choosing Dubai to showcase their talent, there is set to be much more to come in the future.  


In October 2004, Dubai Duty Free launched the Dubai Duty Free Foundation, a charitable body founded under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, and with Colm McLoughlin as Chairman of the board. The Foundation, which aims to raise funds for worthy causes with a particular emphasis on causes that directly benefit children, has since donated funds to several charities, both at home and abroad.
Among the many charitable initiatives the operation has supported over the years include the opening of the US$1.5 million Dubai Duty Free Sports Complex at Lycée Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable in Haiti, as part of the operation’s support to the travel retail industry-led Hand in Hand for Haiti initiative. The school was built as a humanitarian response to the catastrophic Haitian earthquake of January 2010.
The Foundation also assisted to restore eyesight to 800,868 people in India through the Sight Savers Programme and has built houses for those affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and funded one village to build 32 houses in Binotong Alangalang, Leyte following the devastating typhoon ‘Haiyan’ that struck the province of Leyte in the Philippines in November 2013.
Meanwhile, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility programme, Dubai Duty Free also encourages its 6,000 staff members to recycle plastic waste and turn it into useful products through its Plastic Recycling Drive, and therefore collectively focusing on the 4R’s: Reduce, Re-use, Reinvent and Recycle.
To date, the Foundation has supported 39 local and 52 overseas charities since 2004, a clear indication of Dubai Duty Free’s ongoing commitment to the community.
In 2008, Dubai Duty Free established its own Corporate Responsibility (CR) department in-house under which the Dubai Duty Free Foundation is managed. In addition, the CR department is committed to reducing the Environmental impacts and health and safety risks associated with the storage and retailing of goods. It is the Company’s policy to operate an Integrated Management System in accordance with ISO 14001: 2004 and OHSAS 18001: 2007.

The tournament, which is hosted by the Rory Foundation, has become part of the Rolex Series and will now offer prize money of US$7 million.