Colm McLoughlin was a member of the consultancy team from Aer Rianta, the Irish Airport Authority, which was contracted by the Dubai Government to launch the new duty free operation in 1983. He remained in Dubai as General Manager of the new operation, later becoming Managing Director. In July 2011, Colm was named Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Duty Free and its subsidiary businesses, which include The Irish Village, The Century Village, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium and Jumeirah Creekside Hotel.
Under the Executive Vice Chairman & CEO's leadership, Dubai Duty Free has grown dramatically over the past 33 years during which the business grew from US$20 million (1984) to US$1.85 billion in 2016.
Now employing nearly 6,000 staff, Dubai Duty Free is widely regarded for having set the benchmark for the duty free industry in the region.
Under Colm’s direction, Dubai Duty Free has been a recipient of over 500 industry awards presented by international, regional and local entities, which bear testimony to its retail success.
During the course of his career in the duty free industry, Colm himself has been honoured with several personal awards including the Frontier “Lifetime Achievement Award” and the “Galway Millennium Man of the Year”. In 2014, Colm was presented with the ”Irish Presidential Distinguished Service Award” for Business and Education category, making him one of a select group of people, and the first Irish person living in the UAE to be recognised by the Irish government for his outstanding contribution to Irish business and communities abroad.
A keen philanthropist, Colm established the Dubai Duty Free Foundation in 2004 and since then has supported 37 local and 51 overseas charities including Hand in Hand for Haiti, The Moodie Report Great Travel Retail Educathlon, Smile Train and the construction of 32 houses in the DDF GK Village, located in the province of Leyte, Philippines.