Sir Richard Branson tops travel's 'rich list'

Sir Richard Branson tops travel's 'rich list'

Image credit: Prometheus72 / Shutterstock

Sir Richard Branson and his family are the top travel sector individuals to make an appearance in the 2016 Sunday Times Rich List. 

Branson is in 16th place in the annual listing with a fortune estimated to have grown by £420 million year-on-year to £4.52 billion.

Sir Richard’s stake in Virgin Atlantic is valued at £310 million and he sold his 30% stake in Virgin America earlier this month for £540 million.

EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and family saw their wealth decline over 12 months by £170 million to £2.59 billion, with Haji-Ioannou placing in 41st position on the list, down from 36th place a year ago.

He floated the easyHotel budget chain in 2014 and it is worth £58 million, with his easyGroup having a 55% stake. Sir Stelios and his family retain a 34.6% shareholding in easyJet worth £2.39 billion.

MoneySuperMarket.com co-founder Simon Nixon, who now runs luxury holiday home business Simon Escapes, is 113rd on the list with his wealth up by £81 million to £1.026 billion.

The co-founder of Butlin’s Haven and Warner Leisure Hotels owner Bourne Leisure, Peter Harris and family, appear in 182th position with wealth of £650 million. Harris had a £400 million stake in Bourne Leisure which saw profits hit a record £133.8 million in 2014.  

In 210th place with £550 million is Sir Peter Rigby, whose Rigby Group owns Norwich, Exeter and Coventry airports as well as the Eden Collection of hotels and a helicopter operation.

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays chief, Philip Meeson, rises to 290th in the Rich List with wealth of £386 million, a rise of £219 million. The rise in the share price of Leeds-based parent company Dart Group, now worth almost £1 billion, helped boost the fortune of the former RAF pilot as profits doubled at Jet2.com in the half year to September 2015.

Trailfinders founder, Mike Gooley, rose to 295th in the listing with wealth up by £60 million to £380 million as the travel company turned in a record profit of £27.9 million in 2014-15.

Southall Travel owner, Kuljinder Bahia, and his family appear in 312nd place with an improved fortune of £356 million, up £20 million. Southall Travel’s Onkar International made £18.3 million profit in 2014-15 and the family-owned firm is worth £280 million.

Hoteliers Sir Rocco Forte and his sister Olga Polizzi appear in joint 339th place with £320 million.

Boutique hotel owners Andrew and Christina Brownsword, whose portfolio includes Gidleigh Park in Devon, come in 388th place with £272 million, up £2 million on last year.

Big Bus Tours founders Richard, Desmond and Eleanor Maybury appear in joint 389th place with £270 million, a rise of £115 million. Private Equity group Exponent acquired the sight-seeing business last year, reportedly paying the Mayburys almost £300 million for their 70% stake.

Colin Allen and family, whose father co-founded Bourne Leisure with Peter Harris, appear in joint 403rd place with £260 million. They have a £220 million stake in the business.

Hand Picked Hotels is part of the portfolio of businesses owned by Guy and Julia Hands, who appear in joint 403rd position, also with £260 million.

Bond brothers, Stephen and Peter, bought Bmi Regional and Loganair and merged the airlines into Derbyshire-based AIL last year. They appear at 457 in the list with £225 million, no change from last year.

David Babai is in joint 460th place with £220 million, having made his fortune from co-founding Gullivers Travel Associates. He chairs Hong Kong-based group travel specialist G2 Travel.

Alex Langsam, who owns half of Manchester-based Britannia Hotels and Pontins, is a new entry to the list, also with £220 million.

Others on the Rich List include:

  • Airtours founder David Crossland (£200 million)
  • Former British Midland chairman Lord Glendonbrook (£200 million)
  • Apex Hotels founder Norman Springford and family (£200 million)
  • Abercrombie & Kent founder Geoffrey Kent (£195 million)
  • AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes (£162 million)
  • Lotus Group majority owner Peter Stephens (£160 million)
  • Former Gold Medal Travel owner Ken Townsley (£160 million)
  • Gullivers Travel Associates co-founder Uzi Kattan (£125 million)
  • Riviera Tours founder Michael Wright and family (£125 million)

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