Welcome to This Week in Travel Retail, The Moodie Davitt Report’s regular round-up of how our industry is portrayed in the world’s consumer media. We present tall tales and true – from the quirky and the sensational to the investigative and critical – in a revealing look at how a global business sector is portrayed.
Consumers go nuts: We knew that Nutella, Italian confectionery house Ferrero’s hazelnut spread, was popular (including, increasingly, in travel retail). But this popular? Read what happened after a French supermarket chain discounted the gooey gourmet delight by 70%. Then imagine what might happen if the duty free industry worldwide did the same on, say, an industry equivalent of Black Friday. Or should we say Brown Friday?
Silver lining: The return of duty free shopping between Ireland and the UK would be a silver lining in the aftermath of Brexit, Cork Airport Managing Director Niall MacCarthy has told The Irish Examiner.
“Brexit is bad for Irish business, and we believe bad for business between the UK and the EU generally. However, we must avail of every opportunity which it throws up and maximise these opportunities,” he said.
“On the basis of Britain’s signalled intent to exit the customs union, duty free should arise again between flights between Ireland and the UK. We would encourage the pursuit of that objective as part of the Brexit negotiations.”
A spokesperson for Irish Ferries also welcomed such a move. Read more here.
A secret engagement: With Valentine’s Day (14 February for those lacking romance in their lives) fast approaching, East Midlands Airport in the UK has devised a helpful plan for any traveller planning to pop the question to their partner while on holiday.
Travellers are offered a ‘secret code’ to ensure that the wedding ring is kept a secret when they go through airport security.
Maritally-minded passengers can contact the airport in advance of their travels to obtain the secret code, reports The Leicester Mercury. When this is mentioned to security staff, the passenger carrying the ring will be directed to a separate security lane, away from their partner.
The code will help to avoid any awkward moments involving engagement rings being removed from hand luggage during searches in the presence of a spouse to be. To find out the code, travellers can email email@example.com or send a direct message on Twitter to @EMA_Airport.
Extended layover: Chinese influencer, actor and TV personality Ryan Zhu rose to a recent challenge to live in Helsinki Airport for 30 days. There, he experienced different aspects of the airport (including shopping and dining) and his adventures were broadcast on social media daily. But for one Zimbabwean family an ‘extended layover’ at the airport proved to be a very different experience. They have finally left Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport after living there for the past three months.
According to the BBC, the family didn’t have the right visas to enter Spain in October and couldn’t legally re-enter Thailand as they’d overstayed their tourist visas and had to pay a fine. The family said they couldn’t return to Zimbabwe because they faced persecution there. Instead, they instead inside the departures area, where they were well looked after by airport staff. The family’s plight carries undertones of the 2004 Steven Spielberg comedy The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks.
It is believed the family has now departed for the Philippines, possibly to a United Nations refugee camp.
A good case: Helsinki has become the busiest passenger port in the world, overtaking Dover in the UK. According to a report in Kent Online, citing Finnish news agency STT, Helsinki’s growth has been driven by an increase in ferry services between Finland’s capital and the Estonian capital of Tallinn. A major factor behind the swell of passengers is that Finns are sailing over for cheaper alcohol, it reported. “A 24-pack of strong beer in Estonia costs €14 but €49.60 in Finland and alcohol in Finland is 72% more expensive than the European Union average.”
Dover MP Charlie Elphicke told Kent Online that Helsinki’s success offers a template for the return of duty free between the UK and EU post Brexit. This is “why so many people would like to see a return of duty free sales at Dover after Brexit to boost our ferry industry,” he said.
Connectivity boost: A new study by the London School of Economics and Political Science suggests Middle Eastern airlines can boost their revenues from inflight sales, including duty free, with faster Wi-Fi. Airlines will see a US$1.3 billion injection in additional revenues, predicts the study, conducted with British mobile satellite communications provider Inmarsat. Forbes Middle East reported the inflight broadband market could reach US$5.2 billion in the Middle East by 2035. In November 2017, Emirates signed an agreement with France’s Thales Group to equip the airline’s new Boeing 777X aircraft with broadband inflight connectivity technology. The new aircraft are due to enter service from 2020.