Anyone who’s ever been stuck in a small European airport with nothing on offer but sticks of Toblerone, souvenir key chains, cheap sunglasses and dusty jars of the local olive pâté must, at some point, have felt the pain of a pent-up desire to shop — properly. Magazines, gum and a box of chocolates don’t often cut it when a traveler has time, money and the feeling of exhilaration and endless possibility that departure areas often impart.
But the sleepy airport retail floor could soon be headed the way of the twin-prop engine and the in-flight smoking section. While some of the world’s biggest airports — including London’s Heathrow, Dubai International, Hong Kong International and Singapore’s Changi — might already be famous for their luxury retail offer, other airports, large and small, are rapidly upping their game in order to captivate what is already a captive audience: They’re out to exploit the boom in luxury accessories sales, to cater to the diverse needs of travelers, especially the Chinese tourist, and to fulfill — and create — the desire to shop.
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