US-based tailor-made specialist First in Service Travel (F1S) is opening an office in London as it expands into the UK market.
F1S will start operating from its Covent Garden hub, which will be headed up by business travel stalwart Barry Whittaker, in February.
Whittaker previously worked for travel management company Tzell for 15 years before leaving in early 2023, and before that held roles with Abercrombie & Kent and Global Travel Collection.
F1S was founded in 1991 by siblings Fernando Gonzalez, the company’s chief executive, and president Erika Reategui.
Gonzalez said: “We are thrilled to establish our presence in the United Kingdom, a move that has been long in the making.
“Despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic, we believe the time is right for F1S to offer its unique travel experience services to the discerning travellers and independent travel advisors in the UK.”
F1S is looking to recruit a team of independent travel specialists who work with SMEs, as well as in sectors such as entertainment, film and TV production, fashion, media, and meetings and events.
Whittaker said: “First in Service looks forward to engaging independent travel specialists with a client following within corporate travel management within the SME market; entertainment, including touring bands and talent; film and television production; fashion; technology specialists; media; meetings and events (MICE); and luxury leisure travel.”
Gonzalez said Whittaker’s leadership would “elevate F1S’s presence in the UK” and “foster a community of travel enthusiasts passionate about curating exceptional travel experiences”.
F1S has dedicated corporate, luxury leisure, entertainment and events divisions and is a member of luxury travel network Virtuoso.
The company has offices in six cities across three continents, in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Madrid, Bogota, and Toronto.
The F1S team in Spain managed by Felipe Ferrer will also report directly to Whittaker, which F1S said will create a “seamless synergy between the London and Madrid offices”.
Pictured: First in Service chief executive Fernando Gonzalez and president Erika Reategui