Travel People of International Repute
Sir Richard Branson – travel entrepreneur
Surely one of the most recognised names in the travel industry today, Sir Richard Branson has had a tremendous influence on increasing the popularity of long haul air travel by making it available at an affordable price for many who have previously been unable to even consider overseas travel.
In addition, Branson has discovered a number of unique ways to make the air flight more fun! For many, the trip is no longer seen as the drudge involved in simply getting to their destination.
Richard Branson was born in 1950 in the UK, with a barrister and formaer airline hostess as parents. He dropped out of school at age 15, and began to look for ways to make his way in the world.
Hi business career began when he purchased a second hand record shop, which he named Virgin Records.
His first venture into the travel sector began when a Transatlantic flight he was scheduled to travel on was cancelled. Upon hearing of the cancellation, Richard quickly managed to charter another aircraft. He then invited the passengers of the cancelled flight to fly as his guests.
In a gesture typical of Sir Richard’s style, he jokingly posted a hand-lettered sign above the entryway, reading, “Virgin Atlantic Airways – Flight 1.”
Several of the passengers of this “inaugual” flight became investors in Virgin Atlantic once it was established.
Sir Richard Branson is owner of the Virgin group with over 200 companies around the world.
Amongst the areas in which the diverse group operates are:
airlines, retailing (music, videos and computer games), beverages, cosmetics, clothing, financial services, health clubs, mobile phone and internet services, passenger trains, publishing, tour operation, film and TV production.
Thomas Cook – travel pioneer
Nearly everyone who knows a little about travel will have heard of the name “Thomas Cook” at some time. This man from Derbyshire in England was the first to introduce the concept of travel or tourism as an opportunity for the masses. Born in Derbyshire, England, he lived from the early until the late 1800s
He came up with the idea to offer excursions while waiting for the stagecoach on the London Road at Kibworth in the late 1830s.
With the opening of the an extended rail service in his area, Thomas Cook arranged to take a group of 570 local people to a rally eleven miles away. He arranged for the rail company to charge one shilling per person that included rail tickets and food for this train journey. Cook was paid a share of the fares actually charged to the passengers, as the railway tickets, being legal contracts between company and passenger, could not have been issued at his own price. Thus the concept and funding model of a travel agency was born.
As time progressed, Cook found that such a service was popular, and began expanding the services that he offered.
He provided a broader range of train trips, then expanded into Europe and the USA.
A round the world tour started in 1872, which for 200 guineas (about 210 british pounds), included a steamship across the Atlantic, a stage coach across America, a paddle steamer to Japan, and an overland journey across China and India, lasting 222 days – alas the concept of “around the world in 80 days” was not yet upon us!
It is probably fair to say that the whole Travel Agency industry developed as a direct result of the activities of Thomas Cook and his son.
Thomas Cook & Son subsequently grew into one of the largest travel and tourism providers in the world.
Michael Palin – travel personality
Many of us have enjoyed the many and varied adventures of Michael Palin as he has travelled the globe and reported back to us on his adventures.
Michael Palin was born in Sheffield to the manager of a toilet paper factory and the daughter of the High Sheriff of Nottingham (as pythonesque as this sounds this is true).
Michael’s globetrotting exploits began in 1980 when he took part in a BBC documentary series Great Railway Journeys of the World, taking a trip from Euston Station, London to the West of Scotland. This episode turned out to be the most popular in the series.
Probably as a result of this episode, Michael was invited to appear in the travelogue series Around The World in 80 Days. The series was devised as a re-enactment of the classic Jules Verne story. Palin was required to use use the same forms of transport available to Phineas Fogg.
The success of the “80 days” series resulted in many additional opportunities for Michael to star as the “traveler-in-chief” is the series Pole to Pole, Full Circle, Hemingway Adventure, Sahara and Himalaya.
Palin’s travel programmes are responsible for a phenomenon termed the Palin Effect , in which areas of the world visited by him suddenly become popular tourist attractions – for example, the significant increase in the number of British tourists interested in holidaying in the Sahara region in 2003.