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 some 36,000 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.

The 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 entertained guests in style at the Emirates Golf Club throughout the tournament period. This year’s champion Sergio Garcia accompanied DDF officials draw the winner of a Mercedes Benz S500 in Dubai Duty Free’s Finest Surprise Promotion on the last day.


Dubai  Duty  Free is highly  committed  to promoting Dubai through  a series of  high level sporting  events such as the  Dubai  Duty  Free Tennis Championships, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in  February, and was won  by  Elina Svitolina and Andy Murray who both claimed their first Dubai title.


In  July, the  operation   continued  its title sponsorship of the Dubai Duty  Free Irish Open hosted  by  the   Rory  Foundation  held  at Portstewart  Golf Club. The  tournament,  which was won  by Jon Rahm, has become part of the Rolex Series offering prize money of US$7 million. Away   from  the  golfing  greens  and the  tennis courts, much  awareness is also created by the operation's involvement  in horse  racing. In April, Dubai Duty  Free paid the  first of two  visits this year to Newbury, which saw two days of top class racing action and was attended  by Her  Majesty The Queen. The operation  returns  to the West Berkshire course in September as title  sponsor of its important  International Weekend race.


The  1st of July saw the running of the  10th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby held at  the Curragh Racecourse in Ireland, which was won  by Aidan O'Brien trained Capri.  Since taking over the  title sponsorship of this major European race I0 years ago, Dubai  Duty  Free  has created  a weekend festival of racing and social activities including the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Golf Classic and the Dubai Duty  Free Irish Derby Charity  Ball, which was held at the K Club and featured a live auction for the Jack and Jill Children's Foundation. A total of €64,000 was raised on the night.


Dubai Duty  Free returns to  Ascot for the  most unique   fixture   in  the   global  racing  calendar, combined  with  a post-racing concert, the  Dubai Duty   Free  Shergar   Cup.  This  world   premier international  jockey's challenge  draws top riders from all comers of the globe representing Europe, Great Britain and Ireland, Rest of the  World and The Girls team, in a thrilling six-race showdown.

Other sports to benefit from Dubai Duty Free's support include the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup, the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters and the Emirates Airlines Dubai Rugby 7s to name a few.


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.