Virgin Holidays Limited is a company within Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group that offers holidays worldwide with destinations including the USA and Canada, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, India, the Indian Ocean and the Far East. In addition, the company has an established ski program and a specialist cruise division called "Virgin Holidays Cruises". The company was formed in 1985, a year after the successful launch of Virgin Atlantic Airways in June 1984. Initially selling seats on Virgin Atlantic routes to New York City, Miami and Orlando the company has grown to become one of the largest and most successful long-haul scheduled tour operators in the UK. The Managing Director is Joe Thompson, who replaced Mark Anderson in 2017.
|Headquarters||Crawley, West Sussex, UK|
|Joe Thompson (MD)|
Orville Richard Burrell (Chief Caribbean Officer)
|Subsidiaries||Travel City Direct|
In September 2008 Virgin Holidays launched a partnership with Herbert Ypma's HIP Hotels to create Virgin Holidays + HIP Hotels, a bespoke tour operator providing holidays to luxury and boutique hotels around the world. This partnership has now ended and HIP Hotels has since been acquired by a private equity firm.
On 18 December 2008 Virgin Holidays acquired the assets and brand name of Travel City Direct from XL Leisure Group, which collapsed in September 2008. Travel City Direct has been relaunched offering holidays to Florida, Las Vegas and the Caribbean.
Nearly a year later, on 15 December 2009, Virgin Holidays announced that it had bought the small independent tour operator, Bales Worldwide.
Virgin Holidays has a network retail concessions throughout the UK in Debenhams, Next and pop-up shops already operating across the UK. These are supplemented by several standalone shops.
In 2015 Virgin Holidays left their long standing home at The Galleria and moved to Aeronautics House close to Virgin Atlantic. Initially announced as a temporary move whilst the Galleria was refurbished it was later announced that Virgin Holidays would move into a newly built building, the Leonardo Building, with Virgin Atlantic.
In November 2019, Virgin Holidays established Orville Richard Burrell (Shaggy) as their Chief Caribbean Officer.
Virgin Holidays has won every significant industry and consumer travel award in the UK, and in 2013 was once again voted Best Holiday Company to the USA, the Caribbean and Canada at the prestigious British Travel Awards. It was recognised as a Consumer Superbrand in 2011, voted one of the UK's strongest brands by experts and consumers.
There are now v-room airport lounges at Gatwick and Manchester Airports. They're exclusively for the use of Virgin Holidays customers and the first ever airport lounges dedicated to people going on holiday. In 2016 the v-room at Gatwick closed temporarily whilst a terminal move to the North Terminal was planned and executed.
On 21 September 2006, Richard Branson announced that all profits the Virgin Group receives from Virgin Holidays will be ploughed into research and investment to develop sustainable sources of energy. He also committed the profits from Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Trains, which in total is estimated to be $3bn over the next 10 years. At the time he said, “Our generation has inherited an incredibly beautiful world from our parents and they from their parents, it is in our hands whether our children and their children inherit the same world.”
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- "Settore alberghiero: R. Costa progetta catena di lusso (MF)". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). April 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
- Dennis, Juliet (18 December 2008). "Virgin Holidays buys Travel City Direct". Travel Weekly. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
- "Boombastic' Brit required to take over from Shaggy as Virgin Holidays Chief Caribbean Officer". Business Matters. 27 November 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2019.