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, both in Garhoud and Riverland Dubai, 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 34 years during which the business grew from US$20 million (1984) to US$2.015 billion in 2018.
Now employing almost 6,200 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 received 700 awards including the Frontier Award for Airport Retailer of the Year in Single Location, which was won by the operation for a remarkable ninth time.
Dubai Duty Free's Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Colm McLoughlin was also presented with several awards including the Irish Presidential Distinguished Service Award and the CEO Middle East Awards for Retail CEO of the Year." In addition, he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of the University (DUniv) by the Middlesex University Dubai in 2017. In 2018, he was honoured with The BURJ CEO “Lifetime Achievement Award” in October and the MENAA “Best Business Leaders Award” for the third time in December.
A keen philanthropist, Colm established the Dubai Duty Free Foundation in 2004 and since then has supported 40 local and 53 overseas charities including Al Jalila Foundation, 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.