People - Richard Atkinson

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 MyTravel.
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.

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