Four industry stalwarts are to be recognised for their hard work at the 13th British Travel Industry Hall of Fame.
Thomas Cook group chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa, GB Airways president and chairman of the Bland Group Joseph J Gaggero, Whitbread chief executive Alan Parker and Travel Weekly managing director Trevor Harding will be inducted alongside 59 existing members.
They will join the likes of Airtours founder David Crossland, Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and former British Airways chief executive Sir Rod Eddington.
Meanwhile, a Business Achievement Award will be handed out to MyTravel chief executive Peter McHugh, who will become joint chief executive of the combined MyTravel and Thomas Cook companies once the merger of the companies is approved. He is due to leave the company at the end of the year.
Event organisers Kingley Event Management launched the Hall of Fame 13 years ago to honour excellence and outstanding achievement in those who have played a significant role in developing the travel, hospitality and tourism industry.
This year’s event takes place at The Savoy in London on April 30.
Group chief executive, Thomas Cook group
Manny Fontenla-Novoa started his working life at the age of 18 in Thomas Cook’s printing department, after moving from Spain aged 11.
His travel career has spanned 30 years. He was recently named the joint chief executive of the combined Thomas Cook and MyTravel group.
Fontenla-Novoa has had a rapid rise up the career ladder at Thomas Cook, having been appointed group chief executive in December last year after joining the board in 2005.
Prior to that he spent three years as the UK and Ireland chief executive, during which time he spearheaded a business transformation programme resulting in improved financial performance to the tune of more than £130 million, making it the UK’s most profitable travel company, and achieved the 5% margin, considered the holy grail of tour operating.
In the same period he oversaw the rebranding of the company’s core activities under the Thomas Cook name.
Fontenla-Novoa’s career at Thomas Cook has seen him assume the roles of managing director, retail director, and tour operations director.
He was also a founding director of Sunworld and was instrumental in developing the business during the 1990s. The operator was bought by Thomas Cook in 1996, when Manny rejoined the company.
Managing director, Travel Weekly
Trevor Harding began his career in 1960 as a production assistant in the advertising department of Temple Press. In 1969 he joined Morgan Grampian, now United Newspapers, and became publisher of business-to-business magazines.
It was in 1978 that his love affair began with the travel industry when he was asked to publish Travel Trade Gazette.
In 1989 he joined the newly formed Reed Travel Group, heading up publications such as Travel News and Hotel and Travel Index.
In 1991 Harding was responsible for changing the title of Travel News to Travel Weekly.
Harding is president of the Institute of Travel and Tourism, and has served as chairman of Pacific Asia Travel Association UK and president of Chartered Institute of Marketing Travel Industry Group.
He has also raised money for the ABTA Benevolent Fund, the Family Holiday Association and Just A Drop, and is well-known for his amazing ability to remember not only people’s names but also personal things about them. It is said nobody ‘works a room’ better than Trevor.
Chief executive, Whitbread
Alan Parker’s career has spanned more than 30 years in the hospitality sector, from working at his family’s restaurant to running hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Parker joined Whitbread in 1992 to run its hotel division, implementing a strategy to focus on four-star and budget hotels.
Over the past 13 years Alan has been responsible for a period of growth and radical change for Whitbread Hotel Company, growing it from a division making £2 million annual profit in 1991/92 to the largest hotel company in the UK, contributing approximately half of Whitbread’s overall profits. He was promoted from managing director of the hotel’s division to chief executive in 2004.
Alan has also been a member of the board since 2000 and has been instrumental in developing best business practice in the company.
Parker is well respected in the industry. At the annual Hotel Report Awards 2003 he was voted by his peers as Business Leader of the Year. He is also on the boards of VisitBritain and the British Hospitality Council and director of the World Travel and Tourism Council.
President of GB Airways and chairman of the Bland Group
Joseph James Gaggero’s experience of the civil aviation, travel and shipping industries stretches over five decades. He started out in the family business GB Airways in 1947, at the tender age of 20.
In the same year the company put in place what was to be a long-standing relationship with British European Airways, now British Airways.
After management training at BEA, he joined his father Sir George Gaggero at the family’s travel and transport group Blands.
He has been chairman and chief executive of the Bland Group of companies since the 1960s.
Gaggero played a significant role within the business, charitable and cultural community in Gibraltar as well as the wider
travel industry in the UK, Morocco and Spain.
He is a member of the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators and is active in Chatham House.
In 1989 he was awarded the Commander of the British Empire.
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