If you’ve ever tried to buy foreign currency in an airport chances are you are dealing with Travelex.
Today, in the expectation of leaving Sydney for LA, I bought $US150 dollars with my Australian debit card at Sydney airport. The $US is worth around $AU1.05, but the rate I was offered was 0.9530, plus a $AU12 charge, so for my $US150 I ended up paying $AU169.40, which by my calculation means Travelex made a minimum of $AU26.54 on my paltry transaction, a profit of around 17%.
Multiply that and you can see how Travelex is a successful business. Now I have benefited many times from their subsidy of the National Theatre, which means many of their best seats can be bought for £12, if you’re quick enough. So grateful in fact is the National that once it is refurbished their smallest theatre, hitherto the Cottesloe, will be reopening as the Dorfman – not, as many people have surmised, named after the playwright Adriel Dorfman but after Lloyd Dorfman, Chairman of Travelex, which rather to my surprise turns out to be a British company.
I guess that is fair enough, and it certainly makes me less concerned about being ripped off at the airport. But this is Sydney, and I am wondering what, as a global company, Travelex is doing here, and in other major cities, to support the arts in the way it does in London.