Travel Leaders Group founder and chairman Michael Batt was yesterday named entrepreneur of the year for services in New York.

The award recognised him for his his work in building the multi-national travel agency group into one of North America’s largest travel companies.

Travel Leaders Group generates gross travel sales of about $21 billion a year and directly employs nearly 2,000 staff managing operations of more than 7,000 company-owned, franchised and affiliated travel agencies in the US, Canada, Australia, Greece, Ireland, Mexico, and the UK.

More than 40,000 agency staff work directly for the organisation or under one of its brands, which include Tzell Travel, Protravel International and Cruise Specialists.

Batt was selected by an independent judging panel of previous award winners, leading chief executives, investors and other regional business leaders.

As a regional award winner, Batt is now eligible for the US national entrepreneur of the year awards in Palm Springs, California, on November 18.

Batt said: “It was a great honour to accept this award on behalf of everyone at Travel Leaders Group, including the tens of thousands of travel agent advisors who are part of our organization.

“Our driving force has been to continuously provide innovative technology and programmes that allow our travel agencies to thrive.

“In turn, our travel experts deliver immense value, as well as peace of mind, to corporate, leisure and luxury clients around the world. This award is a testament to the leading role that travel agents play within the travel distribution channel.”