Richard Atkinson is a Special Advisor to Otus and an independent
consultant to the travel industry.
Richard was latterly Group Chief Executive of Holidaybreak, from
which position he retired in September 2005 after 30 years with the
company, 24 as a director and 22 as managing director/chief
executive. Holidaybreak is the UK’s leading operator of specialist
holiday businesses and operates through three divisions: Hotel
Breaks, Adventure Travel and Camping.
Richard began his career with Eurocamp, the original predecessor of
Holidaybreak, becoming General Manager when it was then a family
business. He was responsible for the development of the business to
market leadership in the UK self-drive camping market, then a
rapidly growing sector.
Eurocamp was acquired by Combined English Stores (later Next) in
1980 and when the founder left in 1983 Richard became Managing
Director. He was responsible for launching the Eurocamp business in
Continental Europe, initially in the Dutch market and subsequently
in Germany. The core business of camping was also later developed
with the purchases of listed company Keycamp and Eurosites from
In 1988, Richard led the management buy-out of Eurocamp from Next
for £32million and then in 1991 the floatation on the stock market
for £54million. At the time of his retirement from Holidaybreak, the
company had a market capitalisation of £320million.
Richard was responsible for diversifying the group away from its
reliance on the single product of camping. In 1995, Holidaybreak
acquired Superbreak, taking the company into the fast-growing short
breaks hotel market in the UK. This business comprises the current
group’s successful Hotel Breaks division. In 2000, Holidaybreak
acquired Explore Worldwide, which took the group into another
fast-growing area – adventure holidays – and created the third leg
of the business: Adventure Travel.
More recently, the focus of the company has been in Continental
Europe, and at the end of 2004, Holidaybreak acquired two businesses
in Holland: Djoser and BRC.
Richard is a director of the Association of Independent Tour
Operators. He has a degree in Economic and Social Studies from
Manchester University and is a member of the Chartered Institute of
Marketing, the Chartered Management Institute and the Institute of
Travel and Tourism.