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House of Travel founder’s lifetime achievement award

September 13, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Chris Paulsen – the man who founded New Zealand’s House of Travel, which went on to acquire TravelManagers Australia in November 2007 – has been awarded a  lifetime achievement accolade by the travel industry.

Paulsen, a popular keynote speaker at TravelManager’s “Success” annual national conference in Hawaii last month, was described as a “trailblazer” at a Travel Agents Association of New Zealand awards function in New Zealand.

Paulsen, who has been in the industry about 50 years, said he had enjoyed nearly every minute of it, the New Zealand Herald reported.

After working for Air New Zealand in ticketing and sales for nearly a decade after leaving school, Paulsen took a leap with his wife, Maureen, and went into the travel agency business in 1977, selling their only asset (a Renault 8 car) to finance the plunge.

Over the next 10 years they developed a business that dominated airline consolidation and wholesaling in New Zealand’s South Island. Then they decided to sell it in 1986 and start House of Travel, which has gone from strength to strength ever since, with a forecast turnover of AUD 1.6 billion for 2018.

At TravelManagers’ Hawaii conference last month, TravelManagers’ executive general manager, Michael Gazal, described the House of Travel business model that Paulsen set up in 1987 as “ground-breaking within the industry”.

“Despite the changes and challenges faced by the travel industry over the past 30 years, Chris’s inspiring leadership and vision of what constitutes success made him an obvious choice to speak at this year’s conference,” Gazal said.

Paulsen has received accolades throughout his career, including New Zealand’s Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2006, The Prime Minister’s Social Hero Award in 2007, and the Chairman’s Circle honour from the US Travel Association in 2013.

Chris Paulsen

In other results from the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand awards function:

Air New Zealand won Best Agency Support;

QT Hotels & Resorts won Best Hotel Group,

Avis won Best Car Rental Operator;

The Travel Corporation won Best Tour Operator;

Avalon Waterways won Best River Cruise Operator;

RCI Cruises NZ won Best Cruise Operator;

Virgin Atlantic won Best International Airline – Offline;

Air New Zealand won Best International Airline – Online; and

Go Holidays won Best Wholesaler.

Written by Peter Needham

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