GTA founder returns with groups start-up

GTA founder returns with groups start-up

The founder of Gullivers Travel Associates (GTA), who sold the business to Cendant in 2005 for $1.1 billion, is staging a return to the travel industry.

David Babai has become chairman of start-up G2 Travel along with former GTA staff, who have left senior positions in other travel companies to create the company.

G2 will concentrate on group travel, with key source markets being Asia, Middle East, Australia, North America and Europe.

The global management team has offices in Bangkok, Jakarta and London and is based in Hong Kong.

The senior team has been hand-picked for its average 20-plus years experience in business development, client service, supplier relationships, operations, systems, financial management and IT.

After selling GTA in to Traveport forunner Cendant, Babai signed a non-compete agreement, which prevented him from re-entering the industry for six years.

Last April, almost on the expiration date of his restrictions, GTA was sold on to Kuoni for $720 million.

Babai said: “The emerging economies are growing rapidly and with new wealth comes the desire to travel abroad.

“For the inexperienced traveller, long haul destinations are incredibly exciting but a huge challenge owing to language barriers, cultural norms, difficulty in getting visas or simply the desire to find the food one likes to eat.

“Our team really understands how to deal with these issues and provide a memorable experience for the traveller at an acceptable price point, whilst earning a fair return for the effort and knowledge required.”

Discussing the business, he added: “The key people are very able and I was immediately impressed with their plan. It is a huge pleasure to work again with a team I respect and trust, in a business I love.”

David Littlefair, heading the Bangkok office, said: “David is a true leader, a great visionary and an exceptionally astute businessman.  We are fortunate to be able to benefit from his guidance.

“When we last worked with him, all of us found the atmosphere extremely stimulating and we were very proud of the business we built. When the opportunity presented itself to do so again, it was too exciting a challenge to turn down.”

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